3D Printing Berea Sandstone: Testing a New Tool for Petrophysical Analysis of Reservoirs
- Sergey Ishutov (Iowa State University) | Franciszek J. Hasiuk (Iowa State University)
- Document ID
- Society of Petrophysicists and Well-Log Analysts
- Publication Date
- December 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 592 - 602
- 2017. Society of Petrophysicists & Well Log Analysts
- 7 in the last 30 days
- 126 since 2007
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Three-dimensional (3D) printing is a unique technology that enables building of 3D pore-network proxies from digital models. Proxies allow us to experimentally test petrophysical properties (e.g., porosity and permeability) that can supplement reservoir rock analysis. In this study, we tested the resolution and accuracy of a polyjet 3D printer for generating rock proxies from a digital model of Berea sandstone. A 20×25-mm (length × diameter) cylindrical sandstone “macroplug” (21.6% porosity) and a smaller 3.5×4.0-mm “microplug” (21.3% porosity) were analyzed with mercury intrusion porosimetry and were scanned with computed tomography at 10 and 4 µm per voxel, respectively. A microplug digital model, with a porosity of 21.3%, a volume of 8 mm3, and a modal pore-throat diameter of 18 µm, was extracted from tomographic data and rescaled at 10x magnification to meet the minimum pore resolution of the 3D printer (~132 µm). Proxies and core-plug samples were compared for porosity and pore-throat size distribution using two approaches: (1) mercury porosimetry; and (2) digital measurements from tomographic data. This comparison revealed a decrease in proxy porosity by ~2 percentage points and a decrease in pore-throat diameter by ~56 µm relative to natural samples. These discrepancies could arise due to insufficient magnification of the digital model or due to incomplete removal of the wax support material from the proxy pore space. Development of enhanced cleaning methods for pore space in polyjet proxies is needed to generate more accurate reservoir rock models.
Multiscale reservoir characterization requires an understanding of a rock’s mineralogical and textural characteristics as well as physical and chemical properties of fluids occupying its pore space. Pore geometry and topology also control key petrophysical properties such as porosity and permeability (Doyen, 1988; Bera et al., 2011; Peng et al., 2012). These properties determine reservoir quality with respect to the extraction of water and hydrocarbons, or the sequestration of carbon dioxide.
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