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Authors: Kling, Tobias
Huo, Da
Schwarz, Jens-Oliver
Enzmann, Frieder
Benson, Sally
Blum, Philipp
Title: Simulating stress-dependent fluid flow in a fractured core sample using real-time X-ray CT data
Online publication date: 2-Aug-2016
Year of first publication: 2016
Language: english
Abstract: Various geoscientific applications require a fast prediction of fracture permeability for an optimal workflow. Hence, the objective of the current study is to introduce and validate a practical method to characterize and approximate single flow in fractures under different stress conditions by using a core-flooding apparatus, in situ X-ray computed tomography (CT) scans and a finite-volume method solving the Navier–Stokes–Brinkman equations. The permeability of the fractured sandstone sample was measured stepwise during a loading–unloading cycle (0.7 to 22.1 MPa and back) to validate the numerical results. Simultaneously, the pressurized core sample was imaged with a medical X-ray CT scanner with a voxel dimension of 0.5  ×  0.5  ×  1.0 mm3. Fracture geometries were obtained by CT images based on a modification of the simplified missing attenuation (MSMA) approach. Simulation results revealed both qualitative plausibility and a quantitative approximation of the experimentally derived permeabilities. The qualitative results indicate flow channeling along several preferential flow paths with less pronounced tortuosity. Significant changes in permeability can be assigned to temporal and permanent changes within the fracture due to applied stresses. The deviations of the quantitative results appear to be mainly caused by both local underestimation of hydraulic properties due to compositional matrix heterogeneities and the low CT resolution affecting the accurate capturing of sub-grid-scale features. Both affect the proper reproduction of the actual connectivity and therefore also the depiction of the expected permeability hysteresis. Furthermore, the threshold value CTmat (1862.6 HU) depicting the matrix material represents the most sensitive input parameter of the simulations. Small variations of CTmat can cause enormous changes in simulated permeability by up to a factor of 2.6 ± 0.1 and, thus, have to be defined with caution. Nevertheless, comparison with further CT-based flow simulations indicates that the proposed method represents a valuable method to approximate actual permeabilities, particularly for smooth fractures (< 35 µm). However, further systematic investigations concerning the applicability of the method are essential for future studies. Thus, some recommendations are compiled by also including suggestions of comparable studies.
DDC: 550 Geowissenschaften
550 Earth sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 09 Chemie, Pharmazie u. Geowissensch.
Place: Mainz
URN: urn:nbn:de:hebis:77-publ-545061
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Solid earth
Pages or article number: 1109
Publisher: Copernicus Publ.
Publisher place: Göttingen
Issue date: 2016
ISSN: 1869-9529
Publisher URL:
Publisher DOI: 10.5194/se-7-1109-2016
Appears in collections:JGU-Publikationen

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