Computational Mesoscale Physics; Morphological and Functional Characterisation of Porous Materials; Commercial XCT Data; Immiscible Flow in Massive 3D Systems


Can more oil and gas be recovered from reservoirs? What is the pattern of migration of salt and contaminants through soil? How can we accurately assess a patient's risk of osteoporosis? Why does ink-jet printing give clear and sharp lines on some papers while it smudges on others? These questions are of enormous interest to the scientific and industrial communities. Answering them requires the ability to predict the mechanical and transport properties of complex materials from a knowledge of material microstructure.

The proponents at ANU and UNSW have established a world leadership position in this emerging field. We have developed leading-edge algorithms and software for the interpretation and characterisation of the microstructure of a wide range of materials including reservoir rocks, coal, paper and bio-materials. We have developed large-scale simulation models which allow prediction of the elastic and fluid-flow properties of these materials from a knowledge of their microstructure. We have established a unique 3-D micro-imaging CT laboratory, the only facility of this type in Australia, which will play a crucial role in the training of scientists and engineers for this rapidly emerging area of technology. The value of the work in enhancing our understanding of processes critical to oil and gas recovery and improving exploration outcomes has been demonstrated and widely recognised by the international scientific community. We are currently conducting major applications based projects for the petroleum industry, the emerging coal-bed methane industry and the paper industry to demonstrate the value of the technology in improving industry relevant outcomes.

; Transport processes in porous materials are implicated in many fields of industrial relevance. In the oil industry, the characterisation of an oil reservoir implies cross-correlations of many physical properties of such a material, since the only reliable way of consistent data-integration is based on an understanding of the structure at the pore scale. This even includes elastic properties, since they are the only data source continuously available on the field scale. Complex materials like rocks pose scientific problems, which can address a range of questions of pratical importance. Apart from: "Can more oil and gas be recovered from reservoirs?" we can ask: What is the pattern of migration of salt and contaminants through soil? How can we accurately assess a patient's risk of osteoporosis? Why does ink-jet printing give clear and sharp lines on some papers while it smudges on others? Answering these questions requires the ability to predict the mechanical and transport properties of complex materials from a knowledge of material microstructure.

The proponents at ANU and UNSW have established a world leadership position in this emerging field. We have developed leading-edge algorithms and software for the interpretation and characterisation of the microstructure of a wide range of materials including reservoir rocks, coal, paper and bio-materials. We have developed large-scale simulation models which allow prediction of the elastic and fluid-flow properties of these materials from a knowledge of their microstructure. We have established a unique 3-D micro-imaging CT laboratory, the only facility of this type in Australia, which will play a crucial role in the training of scientists and engineers for this rapidly emerging area of technology. The value of the work in enhancing our understanding of processes critical to oil and gas recovery and improving exploration outcomes has been demonstrated and widely recognised by the international scientific community. We are currently conducting major applications based projects for the petroleum industry, the emerging coal-bed methane industry and the paper industry to demonstrate the value of the technology in improving industry relevant outcomes. ; Project for storing commercial micro-xct and associated data.


Principal Investigator

Mark Knackstedt
Applied Mathematics, RSPhysSE
Australian National University

Project

d59, w09, h85, d15

Co-Investigators

Brent Lindquist
SUNY
USA


Val Pinczewski
Ji-Youn Arns
Walid Mahmud
Abid Ghous
School of Petroleum Engineering
University of NSW

Ajay Limaye
ANUSF and ITS Staff, DOI
Australian National University


Rob Sok
Christoph Arns
Amit Goel
Stephen Hyde
Richard Corby
Anthony Jones
Par Wedin
Fabrice Bauget
Tim Senden
Holger Averdunk
Lydia Knuefing
Adrian Sheppard
Mohammad Saadatfar
Gerd Schroeder
Boris Breidenbach
Arthur Sakellariou
Viet Nguyen
Applied Mathematics, RSPhysSE
Australian National University


Lincoln Paterson
CSIRO Petroleum Resources
CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology

RFCD Codes

240202, 240204, 240503, 260204, 290703, 291402, 291406, 291503


Significant Achievements, Anticipated Outcomes and Future Work

The Computational Mesoscale Physics group has developed a suite of software which includes software for structural analysis of 3D data sets (that is useful to tomographic and confocal microscopy users) and physical characterisation of those data. The structural analysis will allow characterisation and display of (surface) contours of 3D data sets (eg. according to density), including a number of standard and novel integral and differential measures (porosity, curvatures, Euler Characteristics) and pore skeletons. Physical characterisation of arbitrary data will allow simulation of physical properties, including conductivity, permeability, dielectric measures, linear elastic moduli, NMR relaxation etc.

This work has been of immediate interest to groups at the ANU (Research School of Physical Sciences, Faculty of Engineering, Paleontology and Geology), CSIRO (Petroleum), Monash University (Australian Paper and Pulp Institute, Chemical Engineering), University of NSW (Petroleum Engineering, Biomedical Engineering), Melbourne University (Endocrinology), University of Queensland (Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis) and Curtin University as well as Australian (BHP Petroleum, Woodside Energy, CHH) and International (BASF, Statoil, Petronas, Total, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, Maersk, ADCO, ONGC, Sultanate of Oman) industry partners. Collaborations with groups in International Universities includes Natl. Univ. of Singapore, ETH Zurich, University of British Columbia, University of Waterloo (Canada), Imperial College, NTNU (Norway), Max Planck (Berlin) and University of Erlangen (Germany). The X-ray micro-tomography facility has been utilised in innovative projects including computational measurement of fluid flow properties of geological materials, quantifying the neural capacity of bees, exploring the sensory systems of 270 Million year old fossil fish and the arrangement of wood fibre composites. Examples of images obtained at the micro-CT facility are given in Figs. 1-3.

Research funding from many of the major oil and gas industry companies was requested this year to sponsor our collaborative research with UNSW. The program focuses the core research strengths of the Department in a 3 year program which computationally extracts key material and fluid properties of porous and granular material. Enrolment in the research program has been excellent with over 10 companies and research organisations joining. The research consortium will be used to fund over 5 postdoctoral/research positions within Applied Maths and build duplicate micro- CT facilities to cope with an ever increasing demand on this resource.

Figure 1: Visualisation of flow field within a coral graft implant for bone reconstruction (Collaboration between ANU and Monash University).

Figure 2: Pore network derived from a 3D image of a porous limestone core.


Figure 3
: 3D Image of a human femoral neck (upper hip) used in a study of osteoporotic bones (collaboration between ANU and University of Melbourne).

 

Computational Techniques Used

Software development which allows users of the ANU tomographic facility timely access to data continues to be a focus of the group. The group, under APAC1, developed highly innovative, optimised and parallel algorithms for image reconstruction, phase identification and structural characterisation. This work has led to the more formal development and partial release of the Mango (Morphological Analysis and Network GeneratiOn) parallel software suite. Mango is a flexible program, with over 100 modules, that can perform a great variety of image and morphological analysis operations. Mango is unique in its parallel operation; it is the only program in the world capable of genuinely analysing the 16GB data sets that now emerge routinely from X-ray CT facilities and synchrotron beamlines around the world. The importance of Mango to the international research community can be illustrated; a French/European group recently made a tomographic image sequence showing the evolution of a soap film using the ESRF synchrotron in Grenoble. This sequence contains $90$ $3$-dimensional frames of around $800^3$ voxels each. While the images are visually stunning, quantitative analysis has been impossible despite the efforts of one postdoctoral fellow in Germany for a year. Mango has allowed analysis of the full data set within a week. Other international groups are requesting analysis via ANU-based software and expressed interest in using/licensing the software. Another software development is Drishti, a volume rendering program that directly uses hardware-accelerated graphics primitives to generate 3D textures, is of great interest to international groups handling synchrotron data.

The goal of this project is understanding of processes involving complex porous and composite materials. Successful predictive modelling of the properties of "real world" materials is reliant on accurate 3D characterisation. Our group is addressing these issues with a combination of theoretical, computational and experimental skills. The main steps involved in acquiring and analysing the data include:

  1. Acquisition/generation of the tomogram at the ANU micro-CT facility.
  2. The development of a suite of software for parallel reconstruction and data analysis of morphological data and to visualise it in virtual environments.
  3. The development of parallel codes to simulate transport, mechanical and multi-phase flow properties of complex materials.

There are a number of algorithms used:
1. Generation of Tomogram.
1.1 Pre-processing of projection data - involves domain swapping and FFT convolution code.
1.2 Reconstruction of projection data - involves FFT convolution and domain mapping code.
2. Analysis and skeletonisation of tomograms
2.1 Analysis and filtering of tomogram
2.2. Segmentation of tomograms (-> segmented image)
2.3 Analysis and filtering of segmented data
2.3. Medial-axis generation from segmented images
2.4. Network generation based on topological analysis of medial axis data and geometrical analysis of segmented data.
3. Modelling of material properties
3.1 Single phase flow
3.2 Mechanical properties
3.3 Diffusive/conductive properties
3.4 Multi phase flow

 

Publications, Awards and External Funding

External Funding and Awards

2004-2006 ARC Discovery Grant: Assessing Bone Quality and Health: Experimental imaging, structural characterisation and modelling of bone in 3D: $430,000

2003-2005 ARC Discovery Grant: Structure and properties of tissue engineered matrices for cartilage and bone, $300,000.

McFarland, Millthorpe, Sakellariou and Hunt, ARC Discovery 2005-2007, Growth of bioartificial tissue containing an inbuilt blood supply $210,000

2006-2008: Digital Core Research Consortium (several companies), $1.5 Million

2005: Total, Extraction of pore networks from Digital Images, $80,000.

2004-2006: BHP Petroleum: Interpretation of laboratory core measurements. Imaging, visualising and modelling laboratory core floods. $150,000

2003-2005: BASF A.G.: Imaging and analysis of foam morphologies, $75,000

Publications

JOURNAL:
“Velocity/Porosity relationships: II. Predictive velocity model for cemented sands containing two or more mineral phases”, M. A. Knackstedt, C. Arns and W.V. Pinczewski, Geophysical Prospecting, 53, 349-372 (2005).

“Volume conservation of the intermediate phase in three phase pore network models”, A. P. Sheppard, J. Y. Lee, M. A. Knackstedt and W. V. Pinczewski, Transport in Porous Media, 59, 155-173 (2005).

“Virtual Materials Design: Properties of cellular solids derived from 3D tomographic images”, M. A. Knackstedt, C. H. Arns, M. Saadatfar, T. J. Senden, A. Sakellariou, A. P. Sheppard, R. M. Sok, W. Schrof and H. Steininger, Advanced Engineering Materials, 7(4), 238-243 DOI: 10.1002/adem.200400212 (2005).

“Femoral neck shape and the spatial distribution of its mineral mass varies with its size: Clinical and biomechanical implications” , R. Zezabe, A. Jones, M. Knackstedt and E. Seeman, Bone, 37 (2), 243-252 (2005).

“Mechanical and transport properties of polymeric foams derived from 3D images”, M. Saadatfar, C. H. Arns, M. A. Knackstedt and T. J. Senden, Colloids and Surfaces A, 263, 284-289 (2005).

Fluids in porous media: a morphometric approach, Klaus Mecke and Christoph H. Arns; J. Phys.: Condensed Matter, special issue (wetting), 17(9):S503-S534, 2005.

“Digital core laboratory: Petrophysical analysis from 3D imaging of reservoir core fragments”, C. H. Arns, F. Bauget, A. Ghous, A. Sakellariou, T. J. Senden, A. P. Sheppard, R. M. Sok, W. V. Pinczewski, J. Kelly, and M. A. Knackstedt, Petrophysics, 46(4), 260-277, (2005).

“Cross-property correlation and permeability estimation in sandstones”, C. Arns, M. Knackstedt and N. Martys, Phys. Rev. E, 72, Art. No. 046304 (2005).

“Pore scale characterization of carbonates using micro X-ray CT”, C. H. Arns, F. Bauget, A. Limaye, A. Sakellariou, T. J. Senden, A. P. Sheppard, R. M. Sok, W. V. Pinczewski, S. Bakke, L. I. Berge, P. E. Oren and M. A. Knackstedt, December 2005 Soc. Of Petroleum Engineers Journal, 475-484, (2005).

“Properties of clinical coralline implants measured via 3D imaging and analysis”, M. Knackstedt, C. Arns, T. J. Senden and K. Gross, Biomaterials, 27(13), 2776-2786 (2006).

Second-order analysis by variograms for curvature measures of two-phase structures, Christoph H. Arns, Joseph Mecke, Klaus R. Mecke, and Dietrich Stoyan; European Physical Journal B, 47(3):397-409, 2005.

IN PRESS:
“A dynamic network model for film-flow and snap-off in imbibition displacements”, V. H. Nguyen, A. P. Sheppard, M. A. Knackstedt and W. V. Pinczewski, J. Petroleum Science and Engineering, (December, 2005).

“Effect of Network Topology on two-phase imbibition relative permeability”, W. Mahmud, J-Y. Arns, A. P. Sheppard, M. A. Knackstedt and W. V. Pinczewski, Transport in Porous Media, (accepted February, 2005).

“Elastic and Transport properties of Cellular Solids derived from 3D tomographic images”, M. Knackstedt, C. Arns, M. Saadatfar, T. J. Senden, A. Limaye, A. Sakellariou, A.P. Sheppard, R. M. Sok, W. Schrof and H. Steininger, Proc. Royal. Soc., in press, January, 2006.

“Analysis of the impact of papermaking variables on the structure and transport properties of paper samples by x-ray microtomography”, A. Goel, C. Arns, R. Holmstad, O. Gregersen, F. Bauget, H. Averdunk, R. Sok, A. Sheppard and M. Knackstedt, J. Pulp and Paper Science, accepted Jan 2006.

CONFERENCE PUBLICATIONS:
Micro-CT determination of bone growth into porous bioceramics, B. Milthorpe, A. C. Jones and M. A. Knackstedt, IASTED International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, 16-18 February, 2005, Innsbruck Austria.

Jones, A.C., Senden, T.J., Milthorpe, B.K., Sheppard, A.P., Averdunk, H., Knackstedt, M.A., Measurement of Bone Ingrowth Into Porous Bioceramics via Micro-CT, oral presentation, 15th Australian Society for Biomaterials Conference, 31st March-2nd April, 2005, Victor Harbour, SA.

Rock Fabric and Texture from Digital Core Analysis, M. Saadatfar, M. Turner, C. Arns, H. Averdunk, T. Senden, A. Sheppard, R. Sok, W. V. Pinczewski, J. Kelly and M. Knackstedt, Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts Annual Symposium, June 27-30, 2005, New Orleans, USA.

Resistivity and Permeability Anisotropy measured in Laminated sands, A. Ghous, F. Bauget, C. Arns, A. Sakellariou, T. Senden, A. Sheppard, R. Sok, W. V. Pinczewski, R. Harris, G. F. Beck and M. Knackstedt, Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts Annual Symposium, June 27-30, 2005, New Orleans, USA.

NMR Petrophysical Predictions on digitized core images, C. Arns, A. Sheppard, R. Sok and M. Knackstedt, Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts Annual Symposium, June 27-30, 2005, New Orleans, USA.

Rock Typing and Petrophysical property estimation via direct analysis on microtomographic images, F. Bauget, M. Turner, C. Arns, M. Saadatfar, A. Sheppard, R. Sok and M. Knackstedt, Society of Core Analysts Paper Number SCA2005- P81, 19th International Symposium of the Society of Core Analysts, Toronto, Canada, August 28, 2005.

The effect of displacement rates and wettability on Imbibition Relative Permeability, V. Nguyen, A. Sheppard, M. Knackstedt and W. V. Pinczewski, Society of Core Analysts Paper Number SCA2005-P34, 19th International Symposium of the Society of Core Analysts, Toronto, Canada, August 26, 2005.

What is the characteristic length scale for permeability? Direct analysis from microtomographic images, F. Bauget, M. Turner, C. Arns, M. Saadatfar, A. Sheppard, R. Sok and M. Knackstedt, Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, Texas, October 9, 2005, SPE Paper Number 95950

The effects of displacement rate and wettability on imbibition relative permeabilities, V. H. Nguyen, A. Sheppard, W. V. Pinczewski and M. Knackstedt, Society of Petroleum Engineers Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dallas, Texas, October 9, 2005, SPE Paper Number 95953.

Analysis of Mineralised Ingrowth Within Porous Biomaterials Using Micro-CT, A.C.Jones, B.K. Milthorpe, A.P. Sheppard, C.H. Arns, and M.A. Knackstedt, International Conference on Biomedical Engineering, Singapore, December 10, 2005.

Derivation of NMR response to permeability correlations from X-ray CT images, C.H. Arns, M.A. Knackstedt, M. Hunter, P.T. Callaghan, Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Recent Advances in MR Applications to Porous Media, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 23(2):423(P25), 2005.