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Title: Numerical Simulation of Permeability Change in Wellbore Cement Fractures after Geomechanical Stress and Geochemical Reactions Using X-ray Computed Tomography Imaging.

X-ray microtomography (XMT) imaging combined with a three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling technique was used to study the effect of geochemical and geomechanical processes on fracture properties in composite Portland cement–basalt caprock core samples. The effect of fluid properties and flow conditions on fracture permeability was numerically studied by using fluids with varying physical properties and simulating different pressure conditions. CFD revealed that the application of geomechanical stress led to increased fluid flow, which resulted in increased fracture permeability. After CO2-reaction, XMT images displayed preferential precipitation of calcium carbonate within the fractures in the cement matrix and less precipitation in fractures located at the cement–basalt interface. CFD predicted changes in flow characteristics and differences in absolute values of flow properties due to different pressure gradients. CFD was able to highlight the profound effect of fluid properties on flow characteristics and hydraulic properties of fractures. This study demonstrates the applicability of XMT imaging and CFD as powerful tools for characterizing the hydraulic properties of fractures in a number of applications like geologic carbon sequestration and storage, hydraulic fracturing for shale gas production, and enhanced geothermal systems.
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Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
47481; AA9010200
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Environmental Science & Technology, 50(12):6180–6188
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US), Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory (EMSL)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
XCT; Wellbore cement; geomechanical process; geochemistry; permeability; CO2 storage; Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory