Effects of microstructure on water imbibition in sandstones using X-ray computed tomography and neutron radiography

Zhao, Yixin, Xue, Shanbin, Han, Songbai, Chen, Zhongwei, Liu, Shimin, Elsworth, Derek, He, Linfeng, Cai, Jinchao and Liu, Yuntao (2017) Effects of microstructure on water imbibition in sandstones using X-ray computed tomography and neutron radiography. Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth, . doi:10.1002/2016JB013786


Author Zhao, Yixin
Xue, Shanbin
Han, Songbai
Chen, Zhongwei
Liu, Shimin
Elsworth, Derek
He, Linfeng
Cai, Jinchao
Liu, Yuntao
Title Effects of microstructure on water imbibition in sandstones using X-ray computed tomography and neutron radiography
Journal name Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 2169-9356
2169-9313
Publication date 2017-06-28
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1002/2016JB013786
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Total pages 19
Place of publication Hoboken, NJ, United States
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2018
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Capillary imbibition in variably-saturated porous media is important in defining displacement processes and transport in the vadose zone and in low permeability barriers and reservoirs. Non-intrusive imaging in real time offers the potential to examine critical impacts of heterogeneity and surface properties on imbibition dynamics. Neutron radiography is applied as a powerful imaging tool to observe temporal changes in the spatial distribution of water in porous materials. We analyze water imbibition in both homogeneous and heterogeneous low permeability sandstones. Dynamic observations of the advance of the imbibition front with time are compared with characterizations of microstructure (via high resolution X-ray computed tomography (CT)), pore size distribution (Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry) and permeability of the contrasting samples. We use an automated method to detect the progress of wetting front with time and link this to square-root-of-time progress. These data are used to estimate the effect of microstructure on water sorptivity from a modified Lucas-Washburn equation. Moreover, a model is established to calculate the maximum capillary diameter by modifying the Hagen–Poiseuille and Young–Laplace equations based on fractal theory. Comparing the calculated maximum capillary diameter with the maximum pore diameter (from high resolution CT) shows congruence between the two independent methods for the homogeneous silty sandstone but less effectively for the heterogeneous sandstone. Finally, we use these data to link observed response with the physical characteristics of the contrasting media - homogeneous versus heterogeneous – and to demonstrate the sensitivity of sorptivity expressly to tortuosity rather than porosity in low permeability sandstones.
Keyword Neutron radiography
Water capillary imbibition
Low permeability
Microstructure
Sandstone
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Mechanical & Mining Engineering Publications
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Created: Wed, 28 Jun 2017, 19:39:53 EST by Zhongwei Chen on behalf of School of Mechanical and Mining Engineering