Analysis of analogue models by helical X-ray computed tomography
G. Schreurs, M. Hänni, M. Panien, P. Vock, 2003. "Analysis of analogue models by helical X-ray computed tomography", Applications of X-ray Computed Tomography in the Geosciences, F. Mees, R. Swennen, M. Van Geet, P. Jacobs
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The aim of analogue model experiments in geology is to simulate structures in nature under specific imposed boundary conditions using materials whose rheological properties are similar to those of rocks in nature. In the late 1980s, X-ray computed tomography (CT) was first applied to the analysis of such models. In early studies only a limited number of cross-sectional slices could be recorded because of the time involved in CT data acquisition, the long cooling periods for the X-ray source and computational capacity. Technological improvements presently allow an almost unlimited number of closely spaced serial cross-sections to be acquired and calculated. Computer visualization software allows a full 3D analysis of every recorded stage. Such analyses are especially valuable when trying to understand complex geological structures, commonly with lateral changes in 3D geometry. Periodic acquisition of volumetric data sets in the course of the experiment makes it possible to carry out a 4D analysis of the model, i.e. 3D analysis through time. Examples are shown of 4D analysis of analogue models that tested the influence of lateral rheological changes on the structures obtained in contractional and extensional settings.
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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.