Microtomography and Pore-Scale Modeling of Two-Phase Fluid Distribution

Dmitriy Silin*, Liviu Tomutsa, Sally M. Benson, Tad W. Patzek

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

115 Scopus citations


Synchrotron-based X-ray microtomography (micro CT) at the Advanced Light Source (ALS) line 8.3.2 at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory produces three-dimensional micron-scale-resolution digital images of the pore space of the reservoir rock along with the spacial distribution of the fluids. Pore-scale visualization of carbon dioxide flooding experiments performed at a reservoir pressure demonstrates that the injected gas fills some pores and pore clusters, and entirely bypasses the others. Using 3D digital images of the pore space as input data, the method of maximal inscribed spheres (MIS) predicts two-phase fluid distribution in capillary equilibrium. Verification against the tomography images shows a good agreement between the computed fluid distribution in the pores and the experimental data. The model-predicted capillary pressure curves and tomography-based porosimetry distributions compared favorably with the mercury injection data. Thus, micro CT in combination with modeling based on the MIS is a viable approach to study the pore-scale mechanisms of CO2 injection into an aquifer, as well as more general multi-phase flows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-515
Number of pages21
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Capillary pressure
  • Microtomography
  • Pore-scale modeling
  • Two-phase flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemical Engineering


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