Laboratory-based investigation into the fluid flow properties of natural and 3D-printed rough fractures

T. Phillips, N. D. Forbes Inskip, O. Esegbue, G. Borisochev, T. Bultreys, V. Cnudde, K. Bisdom, N. Kampman, A. Busch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Citations (Scopus)


Low-permeability geological seals may be compromised by the occurrence of fluid-conductive fault and fracture systems, which can potentially transmit fluids away from the storage reservoir. We performed a systematic laboratory-based investigation into the effect of surface roughness on the fluid flow properties of both natural rock and 3D-printed fractures. The natural rock fractures span a range of lithologies and modes of creation. The synthetic fractures were numerically generated through accounting for complex matching properties and anisotropies within the defining properties of a fracture surface. A multipronged experimental approach was undertaken, comprising digital optical microscopy for roughness quantification, single-phase (core flooding) experiments for permeability evolution with effective stress, and X-ray micro-computed tomography (μ-CT) performed on 3D-printed fractures to investigate aperture field evolution during fracture closure. Results from this study provide further insights into the physical transport properties of fractures as a function of lithology, angle to bedding and surface roughness distribution. This work is used to directly inform caprock leakage models for a joint industry research project, which aims to generate guidelines for determining the risk of CO2 leakage along faults and fractures in low-permeability caprocks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication1st Geoscience and Engineering in Energy Transition Conference, GET 2020
PublisherEAGE Publishing BV
ISBN (Electronic)9789462823549
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Event1st Geoscience and Engineering in Energy Transition Conference 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 16 Nov 202018 Nov 2020


Conference1st Geoscience and Engineering in Energy Transition Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleGET 2020
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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