Experimental investigation on the stress sensitivity of permeability in naturally fractured shale

  • Diansen Yang
  • Wei Wang
  • Kang Li
  • Weizhong Chen
  • Jianping YangEmail author
  • Shugang Wang
Original Article


In this paper, we present an experimental investigation regarding the stress sensitivity of permeability in naturally fractured shale. Gas permeability tests were performed on the fractured cylindrical shale samples under loading and unloading conditions. Different hydrostatic stress and gas pressure levels were chosen to investigate the dependence of permeability on stress. The permeability of the fractured shale decreases with increasing hydrostatic stress, re-increases during unloading and is irreversible during loading and unloading processes. The gas pressure exhibits a significant effect on the permeability in comparison with the hydrostatic stress. Small gas pressure changes (e.g., 2 MPa) induce a comparable change in permeability with a large hydrostatic stress change (e.g., 40 MPa). The gas pressure gradient on the permeability will be discussed. The fracture aperture was estimated by recording the volume change during loading and shows that the aperture change is consistent with the permeability evolution during loading, which is more complicated at a higher hydrostatic stress value. The roughness of the fractured surface was also analyzed and will be discussed in combination with the permeability evolution.


Stress sensitivity Permeability Naturally fractured shale Pore pressure Steady state method 3D scanning 



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant nos. 41572290, 51479190 and 51879260), the Chinese Fundamental Research (973) Program (Grant no. 2015CB057906), Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS and Hubei Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 2018CFA012). These financial supports are gratefully acknowledged.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Geomechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, Institute of Rock and Soil MechanicsChinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Geotechnical and Structural Engineering Research CenterShandong UniversityJinanChina

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