Brief description Laboratory

In the Delft laboratories, our task is to reveal and explain the interaction between rock, fluids and gases under in-situ (changing) in-situ conditions, through time, in an environmentally responsible manner. Moreover, processes including physio-chemical and mechanical behavior of soft rock and soils are involved. Examples of processes that play an important role in these areas, are oil-water replacement, acoustic stimulation of oil production, groundwater flow, induced heat flow, slope stability, tunneling, integrity of dikes and embankments, etc.

Overview of the Laboratory of Geoscience & Engineering, first floor.

The Delft Laboratory of Geoscience and Engineering has the combined expertise and equipment to visualize, qualify, and quantify rock systems under simulated in-situ conditions. In the coming years it expands and improves its infra-structure, which consists of a visualization-, transport- and acoustic/E.M./mechanics section:

  • The visualization section for texture qualification and quantification, where the petrography/mineralogy and petrophysics of rock samples and in-situ processes are established, i.e. microscopy, macro/micro CT-scans, surface measurements, etc.
  • The transport section for rock/fluid/gas system determination, where among others, (multi-phase) flow characterization, rock/fluid interaction, sorption and diffusion are determined, i.e. high P,T-flow tubes, capillary pressure cells, a pendant drop cell, (high resolution) sorption/diffusion set-ups, etc.
  • The acoustic/E.M./mechanics section to improve the determination of mechanical- and petrophysical properties of rocks for hydraulic fracturing, induced improvement of flow, strength-effects, etc., i.e. a shock tube, E.M.-equipment, a true triaxial cell, a large borehole simulator, Terratek cell and other (bi-axial) pressure devices, etc. 

The rock samples used  in our set-ups have a volume ranging from 1 mmโ€‘3 to 0.3 m3.
Combined with the other Dutch Earth Materials Labs, the partners have a common pool of earth-analysis equipment and by that the ability to study the entire sub-surface system up to a depth of several kilometers.

The infrastructure of the laboratory covers the opportunities of research and educational topics be addressed in the coming 5 to 10 years.  A major shift in the supply and demand of energy, water and raw materials, the increase of geo-environmental issues and an increasing complexity in transport and storage of strategically fluids/gases intensifies the utilization of the near and deep sub-surface. Innovations and developments in exploration, development and production of raw materials, hydrocarbons and water but also for the injection and long/short time storage of important/waste products, are our main involvements. Therefore, there is an increasingly important role for sub-surface observation, monitoring and steering of natural and engineered processes, i.e. a well-considered exploration and exploitation of the Earthโ€™s resources and subsurface space.

Regarding our laboratory activities, they are generally a part in the control of a knowledge chain, which helps to manage real-time, processes in near future key areas such as:

  • Production, storage and reproduction of stored hydrocarbon and geothermal energy.
  • Sequestration of waste products, such as CO2/flue gas, nuclear material and acids.
  • Ground water management.
  • Underground space utilization.
  • Surface infrastructure integrity regarding subsidence, stability and water defense.
  • Digital preservation of archaeological soils and remains.
  • Response of wetland archaeological sites to changing environments.
  • On-line real time geochemical and mineralogical analysis.
  • On-line real time geotech/geometallurgy.

To address these questions the organization of the lab is continuously changing and adapting to change in research and education.