PyFrac Open Software

An Open-source solver for 3D fluid-driven fractures propagation

Prof. Brice Lecampion

Open codes are crucial to spread the use of properly verified numerical models and foster real scientific advances in the field.

Prof. Brice Lecampion, GEL


A python solver for 3D fluid-driven fractures propagation, released under GPLv3 license.


Why Open?

Robust and accurate simulation of the growth of fluid-driven fracture is notoriously difficult to compute, no off-the-shelves computation code performs adequately out of the box. Due to the importance of the problem in the hydrocarbon industry and other geotechnical applications, a lot of proprietary software have been developed, but these are usually “black boxes” with little verification. Prof. Brice Lecampion’s decision to share his numerical code openly stems from the drive of his group to push for reproducibility and foster real scientific advances in the field. He emphasize that this is also crucial to spread the use of properly verified numerical models.


Who benefits?

Since its release in end 2019, the solver has been used by both practitioners (typically with a background in earth science but little knowledge of mechanics, regulators in Canada and the Argentinian national oil company are examples of users), and advanced researchers, in the field of rock mechanics / computational mechanics. It’s slowly gaining recognition, and a user workshop will be planned soon.



The software was initially developed by Prof. Lecampion and one of his post-doc, and reach a sufficient level of robustness in about 3 years. Currently, it is being further developed by PhD students adding functionalities related to their research projects. Unfortunately, the main issue at the moment is the lack funding specifically dedicated to support its maintenance. Prof. Lecampion highlights for the need for more support and funding mechanisms for maintenance and improvement of open-source projects. He advocates for open source software as an important component of the open-science philosophy, just as much as open-data.