Computed tomography in petroleum engineering research
Imaging the distribution of porosity, permeability, and fluid phases is important to understanding single and multiphase flow characteristics of porous media. X-ray computed tomography (CT) has emerged as an important and powerful tool for nondestructive imaging because it is relatively easy to apply, can offer fine spatial resolution and is adaptable to many types of experimental procedures and flow conditions. This paper gives an overview of CT technology for imaging multiphase flow in porous media, the principles behind the technology and effective experimental design. By critically reviewing prior work using this important tool, we hope to provide a better understanding of its use and a pathway to improved analysis of CT-derived data. Because of the wide variety of image processing options, they are discussed in some detail.
Figures & Tables
X-ray computed tomography (CT) is a technique that allows non-destructive imaging and quantification of internal features of objects. It was originally developed as a medical imaging technique, but it is now also becoming widely used for the study of materials in engineering and the geosciences. X-ray CT reveals differences in density and atomic composition and can therefore be used for the study of porosity, the relative distribution of contrasting solid phases and the penetration of injected solutions. As a non-destructive technique, it is ideally suited for monitoring of processes, such as the movement of solutions and the behaviour of materials under compression. Because large numbers of parallel two-dimensional cross-sections can be obtained, three-dimensional representations of selected features can be created. In this book, various applications of X-ray CT in the geosciences are illustrated by papers covering a wide range of disciplines, including petrology, soil science, petroleum geology, geomechanics and sedimentology.