Pore level imaging of fluid transport using synchrotron X-ray microtomography

M. E. Coles, R. D. Hazlett, P. Spanne, W. E. Soll, E. L. Muegge, K. W. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Citations (Scopus)


Recently developed high resolution computed microtomography (CMT) using synchrotron X-ray sources is analogous to conventional medical CT scanning and provides the ability to obtain three-dimensional images of specimens with a spatial resolution on the order of micrometers. Application of this technique to the study of core samples has previously been shown to provide excellent two- and three- dimensional high resolution descriptions of pore structure and mineral distributions of core material. Recently, computed microtomographic endpoint saturation images of a fluid filled sandstone core sample were obtained using a microtomographic apparatus and a high energy X-ray beam produced by a superconducting wiggler at the National Synchrotron Light Source at Brookhaven National Laboratory. Images of a 6 mm subsection of the one inch diameter core sample were obtained prior and subsequent to flooding to residual oil. Both oil and brine phases were observable within the imaged rock matrix. The rock matrix image data was used as input to a fluid transport simulator and the results compared with the end point saturation images and data. These high resolution images of the fluid filled pore space have not been previously available to researchers and will provide valuable insight to fluid flow, and provide data as input into and validation of high resolution porous media flow simulators, such as percolation-network and lattice Boltzmann models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Petroleum Science and Engineering
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Imaging
  • Microtomography
  • Pore level
  • Simulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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