Advanced visualisation techniques

The Laboratory of Geoscience & Engineering is equipped with highly advanced instrumentations and set-ups to qualify and quantify chemical and physical processes in rocks and soils under deep and shallow in-situ conditions. Here one example is given of advanced visualisation techniques.

Oil soluble gelants

A new project was granted to our group (together with the Porous Media Research group of the Department of Physics of the Eindhoven Technical University) to investigated the modifications "Modification of Geological Heterogeneity and Flow in Porous Media using Gels: an MRI and X-ray Computer Tomography Study" using chemicals which are soluble in oil and gel in contact with water. This project is inspired by the need of better technologies to reduced water production during oil and gas production, a theme that has been central to our research for many years now. In the past our research focused on hydrophilic polymers and gels (see below) which are formed by cross-linking (e.g., neutral or hydrolysed polyacrylamides). Often the cross linker used was a metal ion. The research aims at describing how porous media properties (porosity, permeability, heterogeneity, etc.) are modified and will bridge the pore scale and macroscopic scale. Pore scale studies include the detailed physical-chemical and mathematical analysis of the coupled diffusion-gelation phenomena and experiments using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Macroscopic studies (core scale) will focus on the interrelation between the physicochemical and “geological” involved in the modification of porous media properties by the chemicals. A phenomenological analysis of the transport processes will be undertaken and core flow experiments. The experiments will be assisted real time in-situ imaging using X-ray computer tomography.

Fig. 1 - The Siemens SOMATOM Volume Zoom Quad Slice Scanner of the Department of Geotechnology uses for studying the flow of complex fluids in porous media. This is a fourth generation apparatus, where the X-ray source-detector system rotate continuously for the whole object examinations using the thin slice and spiral modes.