Flow in geological materials


Surface plot of the pore space within a tiny volume of a limestone. The surface is coloured according to the surface fluid velocities. 3D microstructure was determined using X-ray nanotomography and based on that model fluid flow in the pores was simulated by the lattice Boltzmann method (Misztal et al., Front. Phys. 3, 50 (2015))

Fluids in pores and near the interfaces with solids have a controlling role in Nature, e.g. in the formation and weathering of rocks, in erosion and mobilisation of deposits and for movement of water in aquifers and oil in reservoirs. Understanding these processes is essential for making informed decisions about how to solve some of society’s challenges, such as contaminant remediation of soil and groundwater and for underground storage of CO2. SOLID’s partners are pioneers in flow modelling at micrometre scale using 3D X-ray images (figure). Methods exist for quantifying and modelling fluid flow over the centimetre to the aquifer scale but currently, the macroscopic models cannot integrate to the molecular scale because we lack understanding about the processes that control behaviour in the range from centimetre to nanometre. Our goal is to build a bridge, by combining flow modelling with 3D images made using neutrons and X-rays. SOLID gives a completely unique possibility for coupling length and time scales and to test the new methods by using the lighthouse facilities. Some examples include comparison of model results with data from experiments under the conditions of temperature and pressure that represent Denmark’s underground. Research in SOLID will improve models for predicting the spread of contaminants, the success of remediation and possible scenarios for geologic storage of CO2.

For more information find contact info for PI's:

  • Joachim Mathiesen, KU
  • Henning Osholm Sørensen, DTU
  • Henrik Birkedal, AU
  • Susan Stipp, DTU