Pore and throat size distributions measured from synchrotron X-ray tomographic images of Fontainebleau sandstones

W. Brent Lindquist, Arun Venkatarangan, John Dunsmuir, Teng Fong Wong

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396 Scopus citations

Abstract

The three-dimensional geometry and connectivity of pore space controls the hydraulic transport behavior of crustal rocks. We report on direct measurement of flow-relevant geometrical properties of the void space in a suite of four samples of Fontainebleau sandstone ranging from 7.5 to 22% porosity. The measurements are obtained from computer analysis of three-dimensional, synchrotron X-ray computed microtomographic images. We present measured distributions of coordination number, channel length, throat size, and pore volume and of correlations between throat size/pore volume and nearest-neighbor pore volume/pore volume determined for these samples. In order to deal with the ambiguity of where a nodal pore ends and a channel begins, we apportion the void space volume solely among nodal pores, with the channel throat surfaces providing the nodal pore delineations. Pore channels thus have length but no associated volume; channel length is defined by nodal pore center to nodal pore center distance. For a sample of given porosity our measurements show that the pore coordination number and throat area are exponentially distributed, whereas the channel length and nodal pore volume follow gamma and lognormal distributions, respectively. Our data indicate an overall increase in coordination number and shortening of pore channel length with increasing porosity. The average coordination number ranges from 3.4 to 3.8; the average channel length ranges from 200 to 130 μm. Average throat area increases from 1600 to 2200 μm2 with increasing porosity, while average pore volume remains essentially unchanged at around 0.0004 mm3.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2000JB900208
Pages (from-to)21509-21527
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume105
Issue numberB9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 10 2000

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