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  • Porous Media
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: Computational Geosciences, 2010, Vol.14(1), pp.15-30
    Description: Image analysis of three-dimensional microtomographic image data has become an integral component of pore scale investigations of multiphase flow through porous media. This study focuses on the validation of image analysis algorithms for identifying phases and estimating porosity, saturation, solid surface area, and interfacial area between fluid phases from gray-scale X-ray microtomographic image data. The data used in this study consisted of (1) a two-phase high precision bead pack from which porosity and solid surface area estimates were obtained and (2) three-phase cylindrical capillary tubes of three different radii, each containing an air–water interface, from which interfacial area was estimated. The image analysis algorithm employed here combines an anisotropic diffusion filter to remove noise from the original gray-scale image data, a k-means cluster analysis to obtain segmented data, and the construction of isosurfaces to estimate solid surface area and interfacial area. Our method was compared with laboratory measurements, as well as estimates obtained from a number of other image analysis algorithms presented in the literature. Porosity estimates for the two-phase bead pack were within 1.5% error of laboratory measurements and agreed well with estimates obtained using an indicator kriging segmentation algorithm. Additionally, our method estimated the solid surface area of the high precision beads within 10% of the laboratory measurements, whereas solid surface area estimates obtained from voxel counting and two-point correlation functions overestimated the surface area by 20–40%. Interfacial area estimates for the air–water menisci contained within the capillary tubes were obtained using our image analysis algorithm, and using other image analysis algorithms, including voxel counting, two-point correlation functions, and the porous media marching cubes. Our image analysis algorithm, and other algorithms based on marching cubes, resulted in errors ranging from 1% to 20% of the analytical interfacial area estimates, whereas voxel counting and two-point correlation functions overestimated the analytical interfacial area by 20–40%. In addition, the sensitivity of the image analysis algorithms on the resolution of the microtomographic image data was investigated, and the results indicated that there was little or no improvement in the comparison with laboratory estimates for the resolutions and conditions tested.
    Keywords: Multiphase flow ; Porous media ; Computed microtomography ; Image analysis ; Marching cubes
    ISSN: 1420-0597
    E-ISSN: 1573-1499
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, December 2018, Vol.122, pp.251-262
    Description: We introduce a new method for defining a pore-body to pore-throat aspect ratio from segmented 3D image data, based on a connectivity metric applicable to porous media with widely varying pore-space connectivity and pore-space morphology. The ‘Morphological Aspect Ratio’ (MAR) is identified from the pore-space connectivity, using the Euler number (χ) as a function of a pore-space size defined by a morphological opening (erosion and dilation) of the pore space. We show that residual non-wetting phase trapping in porous media resulting from secondary imbibition scales with the MAR. Trapping was investigated in a Bentheimer sandstone core and five columns of partially sintered glass-particle packs with different combinations of glass beads and crushed glass ranging in size from 0.3 to 1.2 mm, resulting in porosity levels of 22–36%. Residual non-wetting phase trapping scales with the MAR, in contrast to the aspect ratio calculated with the traditional Maximum Inscribed Sphere (MIS) algorithm applied after partitioning the pore space into pore bodies and pore throats with a watershed transform followed by a region merging algorithm. This novel aspect ratio is a robust method that is less affected by segmentation errors compared to other methods for calculating aspect ratio and is applicable to residual non-wetting phase trapping resulting from capillary-driven flow of a wetting fluid through water-wet porous media.
    Keywords: Connectivity ; Capillary-Dominated Flow ; Morphological Opening ; Nonwetting Phase Trapping ; X-Ray Micro-Tomography ; Porous Media ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, April 2018, Vol.114, pp.249-260
    Description: We present an improved method for estimating interfacial curvatures from x-ray computed microtomography (CMT) data that significantly advances the potential for this tool to unravel the mechanisms and phenomena associated with multi-phase fluid motion in porous media. CMT data, used to analyze the spatial distribution and capillary pressure–saturation ( – ) relationships of liquid phases, requires accurate estimates of interfacial curvature. Our improved method for curvature estimation combines selective interface modification and distance weighting approaches. It was verified against synthetic (analytical computer-generated) and real image data sets, demonstrating a vast improvement over previous methods. Using this new tool on a previously published data set (multiphase flow) yielded important new insights regarding the pressure state of the disconnected nonwetting phase during drainage and imbibition. The trapped and disconnected non-wetting phase delimits its own hysteretic – curve that inhabits the space within the main hysteretic – loop of the connected wetting phase. Data suggests that the pressure of the disconnected, non-wetting phase is strongly modified by the pore geometry rather than solely by the bulk liquid phase that surrounds it.
    Keywords: Multiphase Flow ; Porous Media ; Computed Microtomography ; Curvature ; Capillary Pressure Measurement ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, May 2015, Vol.79, pp.91-102
    Description: We investigate trapping of a nonwetting (NW) phase, air, within Bentheimer sandstone cores during drainage–imbibition flow experiments, as quantified on a three dimensional (3D) pore-scale basis via x-ray computed microtomography (X-ray CMT). The wetting (W) fluid in these experiments was deionized water doped with potassium iodide (1:6 by weight). We interpret these experiments based on the capillary–viscosity–gravity force dominance exhibited by the Bentheimer–air–brine system and compare to a wide range of previous drainage–imbibition experiments in different media and with different fluids. From this analysis, we conclude that viscous and capillary forces dominate in the Bentheimer–air–brine system as well as in the Bentheimer–supercritical CO –brine system. In addition, we further develop the relationship between initial (post-drainage) NW phase connectivity and residual (post-imbibition) trapped NW phase saturation, while also taking into account initial NW phase saturation and imbibition capillary number. We quantify NW phase connectivity via a topological measure as well as by a statistical percolation metric. These metrics are evaluated for their utility and appropriateness in quantifying NW phase connectivity within porous media. Here, we find that there is a linear relationship between initial NW phase connectivity (as quantified by the normalized Euler number, ) and capillary trapping efficiency; for a given imbibition capillary number, capillary trapping efficiency (residual NW phase saturation normalized by initial NW phase saturation) can decrease by up to 60% as initial NW phase connectivity increases from low connectivity ( ≈ 0) to very high connectivity ( ≈ 1). We propose that multiphase fluid-porous medium systems can be engineered to achieve a desired residual state (optimal NW phase saturation) by considering the dominant forces at play in the system along with the impacts of NW phase topology within the porous media, and we illustrate these concepts by considering supercritical CO sequestration scenarios.
    Keywords: Co2 Sequestration ; Topology ; Pore-Scale ; Force Balance ; Nonwetting Phase Trapping ; X-Ray Microtomography ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, September 2016, Vol.95, pp.288-301
    Description: Biofilm growth changes many physical properties of porous media such as porosity, permeability and mass transport parameters. The growth depends on various environmental conditions, and in particular, on flow rates. Modeling the evolution of such properties is difficult both at the porescale where the phase morphology can be distinguished, as well as during upscaling to the corescale effective properties. Experimental data on biofilm growth is also limited because its collection can interfere with the growth, while imaging itself presents challenges. In this paper we combine insight from imaging, experiments, and numerical simulations and visualization. The experimental dataset is based on glass beads domain inoculated by biomass which is subjected to various flow conditions promoting the growth of biomass and the appearance of a biofilm phase. The domain is imaged and the imaging data is used directly by a computational model for flow and transport. The results of the computational flow model are upscaled to produce conductivities which compare well with the experimentally obtained hydraulic properties of the medium. The flow model is also coupled to a newly developed biomass–nutrient growth model, and the model reproduces morphologies qualitatively similar to those observed in the experiment.
    Keywords: Porescale Modeling ; Imaging Porous Media ; Microtomography ; Biomass and Biofilm Growth ; Parabolic Variational Inequality ; Multicomponent Multiphase Flow and Transport in Porous Media ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 6
    In: Water Resources Research, June 2017, Vol.53(6), pp.4709-4724
    Description: The relaxation dynamics toward a hydrostatic equilibrium after a change in phase saturation in porous media is governed by fluid reconfiguration at the pore scale. Little is known whether a hydrostatic equilibrium in which all interfaces come to rest is ever reached and which microscopic processes govern the time scales of relaxation. Here we apply fast synchrotron‐based X‐ray tomography (X‐ray CT) to measure the slow relaxation dynamics of fluid interfaces in a glass bead pack after fast drainage of the sample. The relaxation of interfaces triggers internal redistribution of fluids, reduces the surface energy stored in the fluid interfaces, and relaxes the contact angle toward the equilibrium value while the fluid topology remains unchanged. The equilibration of capillary pressures occurs in two stages: (i) a quick relaxation within seconds in which most of the pressure drop that built up during drainage is dissipated, a process that is to fast to be captured with fast X‐ray CT, and (ii) a slow relaxation with characteristic time scales of 1–4 h which manifests itself as a spontaneous imbibition process that is well described by the Washburn equation for capillary rise in porous media. The slow relaxation implies that a hydrostatic equilibrium is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase experiments in which a flux boundary condition is changed from flow to no‐flow. Implications for experiments with pressure boundary conditions are discussed. What happens to fluids in a porous medium after pumping is stopped? Fast X‐ray tomography shows that even in a sample smaller than a sugar cube fluid interfaces continue to move for hours until an optimal fluid configuration is reached. The pace is limited by slow relaxation of dynamic contact angles. Therefore hydrostatic equilibrium, which is the state at which all fluid interfaces come to rest, is hardly ever attained in practice when conducting two‐phase flow experiments where the flow is stopped in much larger soil or rock samples. Relaxation dynamics through internal redistribution of fluids after fast drainage occurs in two stages A quick dissipation within seconds is followed by slow relaxation within several hours due to relaxation of dynamic contact angles Fluid configurations during relaxation are very different from those during quasi‐static drainage and imbibition
    Keywords: Two‐Phase Flow ; Dynamic Effects ; Hydraulic Nonequilibrium ; Dynamic Contact Angle ; Fluid Configuration ; Fluid Topology
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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  • 7
    In: Water Resources Research, February 2011, Vol.47(2), pp.n/a-n/a
    Description: A new method to resolve biofilms in three dimensions in porous media using high‐resolution synchrotron‐based X‐ray computed microtomography (CMT) has been developed. Imaging biofilms in porous media without disturbing the natural spatial arrangement of the porous medium and associated biofilm has been a challenging task, primarily because porous media generally preclude conventional imaging via optical microscopy; X‐ray tomography offers a potential alternative. Using silver‐coated microspheres for contrast, we were able to differentiate between the biomass and fluid‐filled pore spaces. The method was validated using a two‐dimensional micromodel flow cell where both light microscopy and CMT imaging were used to image the biofilm.
    Keywords: Biofilm ; X‐Ray Computed Microtomograph ; Porous Media
    ISSN: 0043-1397
    E-ISSN: 1944-7973
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, December 2013, Vol.62, pp.47-58
    Description: This work examines the influence of (i.e. post drainage) nonwetting (NW) fluid topology on total (i.e. after imbibition) NW phase saturation. Brine and air (used as a proxy for supercritical CO ) flow experiments were performed on Bentheimer sandstone; results were quantified via imaging with X-ray computed microtomography (X-ray CMT), which allows for three dimensional, non-destructive, pore-scale analysis of the amount, distribution, and connectivity of NW phase fluid within the sandstone cores. In order to investigate the phenomenon of fluid connectivity and how it changes throughout flow processes, the Bentheimer sandstone results are compared to previously collected X-ray CMT data from similar experiments performed in a sintered glass bead column, a loose packed glass bead column, and a column packed with crushed tuff. This allows us to interpret the results in a broader sense from the work, and draw conclusions of a more general nature because they are not based on a single pore geometry. Connectivity is quantified via the of the NW fluid phase; the Euler number of a particular sample is normalized by the maximum connectivity of the media, i.e. the Euler number of the system at 100% NW phase saturation. General connectivity-saturation relationships were identified for the various media. In terms of trapping, it was found that residual NW phase trapping is dependent on initial (i.e. post-drainage) NW phase connectivity as well as imbibition capillary number for the Bentheimer sandstone. Conversely, the sintered glass bead column exhibited no significant relationship between trapping and NW topology. These findings imply that for a CO sequestration scenario, capillary trapping is controlled by both the imbibition capillary number and the initial NW phase connectivity: as capillary number increases, and the normalized initial Euler number approaches a value of 1.0, capillary trapping is suppressed. This finding is significant to CO sequestration, because both the drainage (CO injection) and imbibition (subsequent water injection or infiltration) processes can be engineered in order to maximize residual trapping within the porous medium. Based on the findings presented here, we suggest that both the Euler number-saturation and the capillary number-saturation relationships for a given medium should be considered when designing a CO sequestration scenario.
    Keywords: Connectivity ; Topology ; Co2 Sequestration ; Capillary Trapping ; Porous Media ; X-Ray Tomography ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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  • 9
    In: Soil Science, 2013, Vol.178(2), pp.60-68
    Description: ABSTRACT: Gas transport parameters and X-ray computed tomography (CT) measurements in porous medium under controlled and identical conditions provide a useful methodology for studying the relationships among them, ultimately leading to a better understanding of subsurface gaseous transport and other soil physical processes. The objective of this study was to characterize the relationships between gas transport parameters and soil-pore geometry revealed by X-ray CT. Sands of different shapes with a mean particle diameter (d50) ranging from 0.19 to 1.51 mm were used as porous media under both air-dried and partially saturated conditions. Gas transport parameters including gas dispersivity (α), diffusivity (DP/D0), and permeability (ka) were measured using a unified measurement system (UMS). The 3DMA-Rock computational package was used for analysis of three-dimensional CT data. A strong linear relationship was found between α and tortuosity calculated from gas transport parameters ((Equation is included in full-text article.)), indicating that gas dispersivity has a linear and inverse relationship with gas diffusivity. A linear relationship was also found between ka and d50/TUMS, indicating a strong dependency of ka on mean particle size and direct correlation with gas diffusivity. Tortuosity (TMFX) and equivalent pore diameter (deq.MFX) analyzed from microfocus X-ray CT increased linearly with increasing d50 for both Granusil and Accusand and further showing no effect of particle shape. The TUMS values showed reasonably good agreement with TMFX values. The ka showed a strong relationship when plotted against deq.MFX/TMFX, indicating its strong dependency on pore size distribution and tortuosity of pore space.
    Keywords: Tomography ; Correlation Analysis ; Soil Permeability ; Measurement ; Porous Materials ; Pore Size;
    ISSN: 0038-075X
    E-ISSN: 15389243
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Advances in Water Resources, 2009, Vol.32(11), pp.1632-1640
    Description: Hysteresis in the relationship between capillary pressure , wetting phase saturation and nonwetting–wetting interfacial area per volume is investigated using multiphase lattice-Boltzmann simulations of drainage and imbibition in a glass bead porous system. In order to validate the simulations, the and main hysteresis loops were compared to experimental data reported by Culligan et al. [Culligan KA, Wildenschild D, Christensen BS, Gray WG, Rivers ML, Tompson AB. Interfacial area measurements for unsaturated flow through porous media. Water Resour Res 2004;40:W12413]. In general, the comparison shows that the simulations are reliable and capture the important physical processes in the experimental system. curves, curves and phase distributions (within the pores) show good agreement during drainage, but less satisfactory agreement during imbibition. Drainage and imbibition scanning curves were simulated in order to construct surfaces. The root mean squared error (RMSE) and mean absolute error (MAE) between drainage and imbibition surfaces was 0.10 mm and 0.03 mm , respectively. This small difference indicates that hysteresis is virtually nonexistent in the relationship for the multiphase system studied here. Additionally, a surface was fit to the main loop (excluding scanning curves) of the drainage and imbibition data and compared to the surface fit to all of the data. The differences between these two surfaces were small (RMSE = 0.05 mm and MAE = 0.01 mm ) indicating that the surface is adequately represented without the need for the scanning curve data, which greatly reduces the amount of data required to construct the non-hysteretic surface for this data.
    Keywords: Multiphase Flow ; Lattice-Boltzmann ; Interfacial Area ; Capillary Pressure ; Porous Media ; Computed Microtomography ; Engineering
    ISSN: 0309-1708
    E-ISSN: 1872-9657
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