Understanding pore-scale flow and transport processes is important for understanding flow and transport within rocks on a larger scale. Flow experiments on small-scale micromodels can be used to experimentally investigate pore-scale flow. Current manufacturing methods of micromodels are costly and time consuming. 3D printing is an alternative method for the production of micromodels. We have been able to visualise small-scale, single-phase flow and transport processes within a 3D printed micromodel using a custom-built visualisation cell. Results have been compared with the same experiments run on a micromodel with the same geometry made from polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA, also known as Perspex). Numerical simulations of the experiments indicate that differences in experimental results between the 3D printed micromodel and the Perspex micromodel may be due to variability in print geometry and surface properties between the samples. 3D printing technology looks promising as a micromodel manufacturing method; however, further work is needed to improve the accuracy and quality of 3D printed models in terms of geometry and surface roughness.
- 3D printing
- pore-scale ow