Studies of thin sections of reservoir rock have been conducted for some time with the goal of understanding flow behavior and estimating physical properties. These sections are essentially two dimensional, but it has always been assumed that the results obtained can be extrapolated to the third dimension. Computer image-processing techniques are often used in this sort of analysis because of the large amounts of data contained in a single digitized section image. One of the methods used to process these images is erosion–dilation, wherein layers of each pore are stripped off (erosion) and then replaced (dilation). This results in a smoothing of the pore perimeters and can be used to estimate pore radii, volume, and roughness. Because of the size of each image, erosion–dilation of images of the pore complex of reservoir rocks is a time-consuming process. A new method called global erosion is much faster, with no increase in memory requirement or decrease in accuracy. This should permit the processing of larger images or a greater number of small images than does the standard method.

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