Hui Du, Kristen Carpenter, David Hui, Mileva Radonjic

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Shale rocks play an essential role in petroleum exploration and production because they can occur either as source rocks or caprocks depending on their mineralogical composition and microstructures. More than 60% of effective seals for geologic hydrocarbon bearing formations as natural hydraulic barriers constitute of shale caprocks. The effectiveness of caprock depends on its ability to immobilize fluids, which include a low permeability and resilience to the in-situ formation of fractures as a result of pressurized injection. The alteration in sealing properties of shale rocks is directly related to the differences in their mineralogical composition and microstructure.

Failure of the shale starts with deterioration at micro/nanoscale, the structural features and properties at the micro/nanoscale can significantly impact the durability performance of these materials at the macroscale, therefore, study at micro/nanoscale becomes necessary to get better understanding of the hydraulic barriers materials to prevent failure and enhance long-term geologic storage of fluids.

Indentation tests were conducted at both micro and nanometer level on Marcellus shale samples to get the mechanical properties of bulk and individual phase of the multiphase materials. The mechanical properties map were created based on the nano indentation results and the properties of each individual phase can be correlated with bulk response in the multiphase composite; the effect of each component on the microstructure and bulk mechanical properties can be better understood.


Shale Rock, Mechanical Properties, Indentation

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