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Reactive Geochemical Flow Modeling With CT Scanned Rock Fractures

[+] Author Affiliations
Dustin Crandall

National Energy Technology Laboratory, Morgantown, WV

Hang Wen, Li Li

Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA

Alexandra Hakala

National Energy Technology Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA

Paper No. FEDSM2014-21579, pp. V01CT24A004; 10 pages
  • ASME 2014 4th Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • Volume 1C, Symposia: Fundamental Issues and Perspectives in Fluid Mechanics; Industrial and Environmental Applications of Fluid Mechanics; Issues and Perspectives in Automotive Flows; Gas-Solid Flows: Dedicated to the Memory of Professor Clayton T. Crowe; Numerical Methods for Multiphase Flow; Transport Phenomena in Energy Conversion From Clean and Sustainable Resources; Transport Phenomena in Materials Processing and Manufacturing Processes
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 3–7, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4623-0
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Obtaining quality three-dimensional geometries of fractures in a natural medium, such as rock, is a non-trivial task. This paper describes how several geothermal fractured rocks were scanned using computed tomography (CT), the reconstruction procedure to generate the three-dimensional (3D) geometry of the fractured rock, and the methodology for isolating the fracture from the CT scan. A conversion process to capture the relevant geometric features of the fracture is then discussed. The scanned aperture distribution was then used to simulate the reactive flow and transport processes using a reactive transport code CrunchFlow. The accurate use of CT images in fluid flow models within complex structures allows detailed understanding on how the aperture distribution affects mineral dissolution and fracture property evolution during the EGS process. Our preliminary simulation results show the formation of the preferential flow in zones with larger apertures, which led to higher calcite dissolution rates and even larger aperture size over time in these zones. Because calcite only occupied 10% of the solid phase, its dissolution did not completely open up the aperture because other relatively non-reactive minerals (clay and quartz) remained. The traditional measure of mechanical aperture could not take into account the partial increase in void space in the rock matrix and underestimated the increase in average aperture. The chemical and hydraulic apertures, which explicitly take into account changes in mineral volumes in the rock matrix, relate better to the overall change in the effective permeability of the sample.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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