Computerized Tomographic Analysis of Fluid Flow in Fractured Tuff

by C. W. Felice, TerraTek Inc, Salt Lake City, United States,
J. C. Sharer, TerraTek Inc, Salt Lake City, United States,
E. P. Springer, TerraTek Inc, Salt Lake City, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering Mechanics


The purpose of this summary is to demonstrate the usefulness of X-ray computerized tomography to observe fluid flow down a fracture and rock matrix inhibition in a sample of Bandelier tuff. This was accomplished by using a tuff sample 152.4 mm long and 50.8 mm in diameter. A longitudinal fracture was created by cutting the core with a wire saw. The fractured piece was then coupled to its adjacent section so that the fracture was not exposed. Water was injected into a dry sample at five flow rates and CT scanning performed at set intervals during the flow. Cross sectional images and longitudinal reconstructions were built and saturation profiles calculated for the sample at each time interval at each flow rate. The results showed that for the test conditions, the fracture was not a primary pathway of fluid flow down the sample. At a slow fluid injection rate into the dry sample, the fluid was imbibed into the rock uniformly down the length of the core. With increasing injection rates, the flow remained uniform over the core cross section through complete saturation.

Subject Headings: Fluid flow | Fluid mechanics | Computer analysis | Hydraulic fracturing | Radiography | Cracking | X rays | Rocks

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