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Porosity considerations

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Boltzmann simulation

William J. Bosl,1

Center for Applied ScientificComputing, LawrenceLivermore National Laboratory, Livermore,

California

GeophysicsDepartment, Stanford University

Abstract. We explicitlycalculatethe absolute(single- ulate fluid flow at the pore scale. See Bryant et al.

phase) permeability of simulatedgranular rocksas the [1993]and Cade et al. [1994]for recentexamplesof

pore space is evolved by various diagenetic schemes. the use of network modelsfor pore-scalestudies. In the

Our goal is to match our computedcurvesto laboratory network model approach,a complexpore spaceis repre-

measurementsof porosity-permeability relationshipsin sentedby a set of idealizedgeometricalfigures. Suchap-

real rocks. To achieve this goal we model rock as a proximationscan be limiting and are often non-unique.

dense random pack of identical spherical grains with Furthermore, it is difficult by such approximations to

diagenetic cement deposited in the pore space. The experiment with various pore evolution schemesas we

positions of the sphere centers in our numerical model have done in this study.

are taken from experimentalmeasurements (the Finney

pack). The diagenesisis simulatedin variousways: uni- 1.1. Lattice-Boltzmann Flow Model

form cement deposition on the surface of each grain

We simulate fluid flow using the lattice Boltzmann

(uniform growth of the grains); cementdepositionat

model (LB). The particularmodelusedhere is the one

grain contacts;cementdepositionaway from grain con-

developedby Ladd [1994]. In our simulations,we as-

tacts; random filling of the pore spaces; and various

combinations of these. Permeability is computed by

sume very low viscositywhichreducesthe full (nonlin-

ear) Navier-Stokes equationto the linear Stokesequa-

explicitly modeling Stokes flow in the simulated pore

space using a lattice Boltzmann method. Our simula-

tion. This describes flow in the creepingor Darcy

regime. The fluid is alsoassumedto be incompressible.

tions produce distinctively different porosity-permeabil-

SinceLadd's paper containsextensivetheoreticaland

ity relationships which are characteristic of the cement

deposition pattern. The distinctive porosity-permeabil- numerical discussions, as well as numerouscomputa-

tional results,we will not repeat detailsof our numerical

ity relationships found in laboratory measurementsof

real rocks are matched by certain simulation schemes. codehere. Continuingapplications of our codeby Ladd

for related studies,includingtests of simplePoiseuille

flow,haveconfirmedthe accuracyof our code(Ladd,

1. Introduction personalcommunication).LB modelsare alsobecom-

ing a common and acceptedtool for pore-scalestudies

A knowledgeof characteristicporosity-permeability

relationships in various reservoir rocks is important for

of fluid flow. Many theoretical and numericalstudies

severalreasons. An understandingof how permeabil- of the lattice Boltzmannmethodare available.See,for

ity dependson pore structure may play a role in the example, Ferreoland Rothman[1995]and Qian et al.

attempt to determine a physical relationship between

[1992].

permeability and acousticvelocity or other measurable

rock properties. This is because pore structure, not 1.2. Pore-Space Models and Simulated

just porosity, determines many rock properties. Perme- Diagenetic Processes

ability changesdue to chemical alteration of the pore We use an LB simulationto computepermeability

spacein rocksmay alsobe an important factor in many versusporosityin granularrocksfor severalpore evo-

crustal processesthat involve fluid flow. lution schemes.The staxtingpore structureis that of

Network models have been extensivelyused to sim- a denserandom pack of identical spheres. The coor-

dinatesof the spherecentershavebeenexperimentally

measured by Finney [1970]and madeavailableto us in

1Alsoat the Geophysics

Department,StanfordUniversity digitalform. Forthisnumericalstudywestart with ap-

proximately4000 spherecentercoordinates,whichcor-

Copyright1998 by the AmericanGeophysicalUnion.

respond to a spherical volume of radius 20min. From

Papernumber98GL00859. this volume, we simulate flow on a cube that is 6ram or

0094-8534/98/98GL-00859505.00 more on each side.

1475

1476 BOSL ET AL.: POROSITY-PERMEABILITY STUDY USING LATTICE BOLTZMANN

Grains in sedimentary environments are generally flow channelsof the pore space.This processmight be

well,sorted due to the physical processesthat deposit expectedto occurduringearly diagenesis, whenburial

them. Furthermore, the depositional processtends to and compactionare occurring.Other physicalmecha-

causegrains to be clusteredas a random densepack, nismsthat mightresultin high-flowporesbeingfilled

rather than in a regular packing. Thus, the useof uni- are certainly possible.

form spheresin a randomdensepackis a reasonablefirst Randompore filling proceededin a simplemanner.

approximationto real sandstones A specifiedpercentage

for studyinggranular of the pore spaceswerefilled

materials. randomlyandthe permeabilitywasrecalculated.This

Pore-space

diagenesis is modeledin this studyby (a) pore-fillingmechanism is includedas anotherentry in

uniformgrowth of the grains,(b)cementdepositionin our catalog of porosity-permeability

relationships.

The

lowfluid flux regions,(c) cementdepositionin highfluid mannerin whichclay appearsto be distributedin the

flux regions,(d) randomprecipitationin the porespace, porespaceof somesedimentary materialssuggests that

and combinationsof these processes. this scheme mighthavea physicalbasis.In realsystems,

Uniform expansionof the grains is accomplishedby combinationsof theseprocesses might reasonablybe ex-

increasingthe radius of the spheresin our simulation. pected to occur. Thus, we investigatedsomecombina-

In our code,grid pointsare initially assumedto be pore tions of our basicdiageneticalgorithms and alteredthe

spacegrid points. As the simulateddiagenesis proceeds, relative weightsas the simulateddiagenesisprogressed.

appropriate grid points are marked as grains. Thus, ex-

pandingthe sphereradii uniformly, for example,causes 2. Scale and Boundary Conditions

no problemsif the spheresoverlap. Geologically,uni-

form expansionof the spherescorrespondsto uniform 2.1. Effect of Sample Size

depositionof cement on grain surfaces. The cemented All LB simulationsare implementedon a cubewhich

glass beads which we measuredin the laboratory are is a spatialsubsetof the full Finneypackdataset.In

also formed by a similar process. In contrast, random this sectionwe investigatehowthe sizeof the cubeand

depositionwas suggestedby X-ray micrographsof thin the grid spacingaffectthe resultingpermeabilityand

sectionsof granularmaterialscontainingsignificantclay porosityvalues. In one simulation,the centerof the

content.

cubeis positionedin the porespace;in the otherit falls

The depositionalschemesthat dependon flow veloc- insidea solidsphericalgrain. By expandingthe walls

ity are simulated by depositing cement in a specified of the cube,we calculatedthe resultingporosityand

fraction of the pore space where the fluid flow veloc- permeability(Figure 1). The resultsshowthat once

ities are the lowest and the highest, respectively. We the lengthof the cubesideexceeds four grainradii, the

speculatedinitially that flow velocity might play a de- scale-relatedfluctuationsin porosity and permeability

terministic role in cementdepositionin real sedimentary becomenegligible.Porosity 0.36 and permeability

processes.We did not assumea particular processwas 2.71 x 106reD,whicharethe experimentally

determined

responsiblefor deposition. Depositionin high flow re- valuesfor a randomdensepackof identicalspheres;see

gionsin real rocksmight be causedby precipitation as Bourbieet al. [1987land

Bryantet al. [1993].

fluid movesinto a different temperature region, for ex-

ample. Alternatively, pore spacesmight be cloggedini- 2.2. Grid size and boundary conditions

tially by smaller particles which are carried in the high

In our numerical simulationswe began with a 6ram

cube (the graindiameteris 2mm). For someof the

pore-fillingschemes,

we foundthat a 10mm cubegave

smootherresultsat low porosities.This effectdoesnot

'Pereabiiity

2! appearto be dueto the grid spacing.Someporefilling

Porosity

1 schemes gavequitesmoothresultsdownto porosities of

6o I- '. 36%l lessthan 5%. When porosity-permeabilitycurveswere

,' 2.7 106 mD not smooth,we foundthat usinga largersamplesize(8

or 10ram)withthesamegridspacing (10gridpointsper

20 !

spherediameter)gavequitegoodresults.Ladd[1994]

Porosity2 Permeability1 alsoreportedthat this resolutionwasadequate.A uni-

0 I I I

0 2 4 6 8 0 2 4 6

form pressuregradientis appliedto the fluid particles

8

SampleCube Size (mm) SampleCube Size (mm) alongthe flowdirection.Then the flux is computedand

the permeabilityobtainedfrom Darcy's law.

Figure 1. The effectof the cubesizeon porosity(a) Both reflectingandperiodicboundaryconditionswere

andpermeability(b). The graindiameteris 2 mm. The tested for the edgesof the samplecube and foundto

computationalgrid spacingis 0.2 mm. The solidcurve

is for the case where the cube center is in the spherical givealmostidenticalresultsin our simulations. All re-

grain; the dotted curveis for the casewhere the cube maining calculations

use periodicboundary conditions

center is in a pore; the horizontalline is the value for on the edges.Reflectingboundaryconditionsoccuron

the entire pack. all interiorsolid(grain)boundaries.

BOSL ET AL.: POROSITY-PERMEABILITY STUDY USING LATTICE BOLTZMANN 1477

curves with superimposedexperimental values for ar-

106 tificialgranularmaterials.The epoxy-cemented

glass

beadsdeviate from the uniform expansioncurve and

-. 105 ottawa the sinteredglassbead resultsfor low porosities. A

Sand probablecauseis the non-uniformepoxy distribution

4 dueto gravity,whichcausedaccumulation of epoxyat

the bottomof the cylindricalsample. The proximity

Troll

of the theoreticaluniform-expansion

curveand exper-

100

imental values indicates that the numerical scheme is

[] Epoxy

Fontainebleau & Sintered

an effectivemethodfor computingporosity-permeabil-

l0 ;andstone

ity relationshipsin complexporousmaterials.

I I

The curveobtainedby fillinglowfluid flux poresdoes

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 not appearto match any of the experimentaldata, so

Porosity it will not be considered

furtherin this study.

Figure 2. Laboratory measurements

of permeability

(normalized

by graindiameter)versusporosityfor sev- 3.2. North Sea Sandstones

eral kinds of sandstoneand for two glass bead packs

(sintered

glassbeadsandepoxycemented

glassbeads). Notice in Figure 2 that at high porosity,the data

points for artificial materialsappearto emanatefrom

the random-dense-pack

point(6.8105roD/ram

2, 0.36).

3. Psults This doesnot appear to be the casefor the North Sea

3.1. Four Basic Diagenetic Processes

sandstones(Oseberg,Troll) andthe Ottawasand.The

curvesforthesematerialsappearto followstraightlines

Laboratory measurementsof permeability and poros- from the regionof the Ottawa sandpoint of highest

ity data are displayedin Figure 2. Theoretical curves porosity and do not pass through the random-dense-

in subsequent figuresstart either from the Finney pack pack point. The uniform expansionmodel appears

point, or from the point that is computedby contracting to describethe porosity-permeabilityrelationshipfor

the spheresuntil the porosity approximatelymatches cementedand sinteredglassbeads, but overestimates

that of Ottawa sand. Our computedvalues match the the permeabilityof North Seasandstones.

Physically,

experimentallydeterminedvaluesfor the Finney pack this suggests

that North Sea sandstones

beginas an-

[Finney,1970]. cementedgrains,similar to Ottawa sand, and then un-

Note that all of our permeability values are normal- dergo a diageneticprocesswhich is different from uni-

ized by either the spherediameter(for theoreticalor form expansion.

artificial spherepacks)or the estimatedaveragegrain To test this hypothesiswe attempt to find a theoret-

size. This is the only way to comparepermeability val- ical diageneticschemewhich will model the North Sea

uesbetweengranularmaterialsof differentgrain scales. curves.We beginby contractingthe spheresin the sim-

The uniform expansioncurve,for high porosities,ap-

pears to match experimentalresults obtained for the 106 , I

Uniform

artificial cemented sphere packs, particularly the sin- Oseber

tered glassbeads. In Figure 3, we display the com- Expansion

105 Ottawa

Model 4 ro.

105 :-r-.

' - Random

_ :rff

ff/, lpoxy-Cemented

Fill / HighsOnly

104 _ // ' Glass

Beads i- Filled

100

]:1//

.....

/

Sintered

GlassBeads

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5

Porosity

Figure 4. Computedporosity-permeability curvesde-

100 rivedby fillinghigh-flowporesanduniformlyexpanding

the spheressimultaneously. At eachdiageneticstep,4%

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5

of the high-flowporesare filled. Uniformexpansionfor

Porosity the threeboldcurvesstartsat a) 0.0005mm, b) 0.0003

Figure 3. Computed porosity-permeabilitycurvesfor mm,andc) 0.0001mmperdidgenetic step,respectively.

uniform sphereexpansionand random filling with su- This expansionis increasedby a factor of 2.0 after each

perimposeddata pointsfor artificial spherepacks. step.

1478 BOSL ET AL' POROSITY-PERMEABILITY STUDY USING LATTICE BOLTZMANN

106 _ Unifo

rmExpansion

' ' . a. 0.125 mm for the averagegrain diameter. The match to

the uniform expansioncurveis so close,and so distinctly

105 _

Model

_'// ' / different from the North Sea sandstones,that we feel

further study is neededon the manner in which scaling

....:i:'

Ottawal is donewhen comparingporosity-permeabilityrelation-

shipsin granular materials with dissimilarmean grain

10

4 sizes.Another study of Fontainebleauusinga different

,F o Fontainebleau diageneticschememaybe foundin Gal et al. [1998].

10o0 o (diem= 0.25mm)

;:.2'

'r' '.......' 1eau

Fontaineb 4. Conclusions

100

(diem

=0.125

mm) We found that certain relationships that resulted

0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5 from our diagenetic algorithms appear to correspond

Porosity to variousdiageneticpatterns in natural rocks and ce-

Figure . Computediform expamionpority- mented bead packs. Though our primary goal was to

permeability

cve, datapointsforFontainebleau

sd- find depositionalschemesthat would match our mea-

stone,sung ain sizeof 0.25, d Fontain sured data, this study may also be useful as a catalog

bleausming aim e 0.125 in diameter. of porosity-permeabilityrelationshipsthat result from

the severalgeometricalalgorithmsthat controlthe di-

agenesisin our simulations.

ulated Finneypackuniformlyuntil the porosityis ap- Acknowledgments.We aregrateful to SteveBryantforsupplying

uswith

proximatelythat of the mostporousOttawadatapoint. thedigitalFinneypackof spherecenters.WJB thanksTonyLaddfor

We then evolvethe granularmaterialusingvariousdi- helpfuldiscussions

aboutlatticeBoltzmann simulations.

TheGasResearch

Institute,through

Contract

GRI-5094-210-3125,

fundedtheearlyphaseof

agenetic

schemes.

Notethat the trendsfor the North thisproject.

Sea sandstonesare distinctivelydifferentfrom that of

Fontainebleausandstone,which will be consideredsep-

arately. References

In order to match the North Sea sandstone trends, Bourbie, T., and B. Zinszner, Hydraulic and acousticprop-

we foundit necessary to combinetwo differentdiage- erties as a function of porosity in fountainebleausand-

neticschemes.In Figure4 we showcurvesfor uniform stone, Journal of GeophysicalResearch, 90, 11,524-

expansionandfillingof high-flowpores.Theseformthe 11,532, 1985.

Bourbie,T., O. Coussy,and B. Zinszner,Acousticsof Porous

two extremecurvesin the figure.The threecurvesthat Media, Gulf Publishing Co, Houston, Texas, 1987.

fall between the extremes were computed by allowing Bryant, S. L., D. W. Melior, and C. A. Cade,Physicallyrep-

the rate of uniformexpansionto increaseas the diage- resentativenetwork models of transport in porousmedia,

nesisproceeded.That is, the initial porecementation AIChE Journal, 39(3), 387-396, 1993.

was due primarilyto filling of high-flowpores. Later, Ferreol, B., and D. H. Rothman, Lattice boltzmann

uniformexpansion becamethe dominantprocess.Such fontainebleau sandstone, Transport in Porous Media,

a changein diagenesis is not unreasonablephysically. Finney,J., Randompackings and the structureof simple

The cementationprocessmight be'expectedto alter as liquidsi. the geometryof randomclosepacking,Proc.

burial and compactionof sedimentsproceeds. Roy. $oc., 319A, 479, 1970.

Gal, D., J. Dvorkin,andA. Nut, A physicalmodelforporos-

3.3. Fontainebleau Sandstone ity reductionin sandstones, Geophysics,63(2),1-6, 1998.

Ladd, A. J. C., Numericalsimulationsof particulatesus-

The Fontainebleau sandstone data points are quite pensionsvia a discretizedboltzmannequation.part 1,

distinct from the North Sea sandstones.The shape of theoreticalfoundation,Journal of Fluid Mechanics,271,

the Fontainebleautrend appears to be similar to the 285-309, 1994.

Qian, Y. H., D. d'Humieres,and P. Lallemand,Lattice

uniformexpansioncurve, as shownin Figure 5. The BGK modelsfor Navier-Stokesequation, Europhys.Lett.,

curve for random depositionof cementappearsto also 17(6), 479-484, 1992.

havea shapethat is similarto the uniformexpansion

curveand to the Fontainebleautrend, but shifteddown-

William J. Bosl,Centerfor AppliedScientificComputing,

LawrenceLivermoreNational Laboratory, P.O. Box 808, L-

An averagegrain diameterof 0.25 mm for Fontaine- 561, Livermore, California 94550

bleauwasobtainedfrom Bourbieand Zinszner[1985]. Amos Nut and Jack Dvorkin, GeophysicsDepartment,

Photomicrographs of Fontainebleau taken 317 Mitchell Building MC2215, StanfordUniversity,Stan-

thin sections

by oneof the authorsrevealsthat the averagegraindi- ford, CA 94305

ameterappearssomewhatsmallerin somesamples.We

foundthat the Fontainebleaudata pointsmatch the uni- (ReceivedApril 17, 1997; revisedFebruary 19, 1998;

form expansioncurvevery well if we normalizedusing acceptedFebruary23, 1998.)

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