Estimates of Permeability of Porous Materials Using Image Analysis of Cross Sections

by Stephen C. Blair, Lawrence Livermore Natl Lab, Livermore, United States,
Patricia A. Berge, Lawrence Livermore Natl Lab, Livermore, United States,
James G. Berryman, Lawrence Livermore Natl Lab, Livermore, United States,

Abstract: We have developed an image processing method for characterizing the pore structure of porous materials such as rock and concrete, to provide a means for understanding the dependence of physical properties on the pore structure. This method is based upon the statistical properties of the microgeometry as observed in images of cross sections of the material. Our method utilizes a simple statistical function called the spatial correlation function, which can be used to predict bounds on permeability and other physical properties, along with the porosity and specific surface area of the material. In this paper we discuss the two-point spatial correlation function and its use in characterizing features of rock microstructure found in images of several different sandstones. We also present estimates of permeability for several of these sandstones, compare the estimates to laboratory measurements, and briefly discuss extension of this technique to two-phase flow.

Subject Headings: Material properties | Porous media | Imaging techniques | Materials processing | Permeability (material) | Sandstone | Concrete structures | Rock properties

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