New Experimental Equipment Recreating Geo-Reservoir Conditions in Large, Fractured, Porous Samples to Investigate Coupled Thermal, Hydraulic and Polyaxial Stress Processes

C. I. McDermott, Andrew Fraser-Harris, Martin Sauter, Gary Douglas Couples, Katriona Edlmann, Olaf Kolditz, Alexander Lightbody, James McLean Somerville, Wenqing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Use of the subsurface for energy resources (enhanced geothermal systems, conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons), or for storage of waste (CO2, radioactive), requires the prediction of how fluids and the fractured porous rock mass interact. The GREAT cell (Geo-Reservoir Experimental Analogue Technology) is designed to recreate subsurface conditions in the laboratory to a depth of 3.5 km on 200 mm diameter rock samples containing fracture networks, thereby enabling these predictions to be validated. The cell represents an important new development in experimental technology, uniquely creating a truly polyaxial rotatable stress field, facilitating fluid flow through samples, and employing state of the art fibre optic strain sensing, capable of thousands of detailed measurements per hour. The cell’s mechanical and hydraulic operation is demonstrated by applying multiple continuous orientations of principal stress to a homogeneous benchmark sample, and to a fractured sample with a dipole borehole fluid fracture flow experiment, with backpressure. Sample strain for multiple stress orientations is compared to numerical simulations validating the operation of the cell. Fracture permeability as a function of the direction and magnitude of the stress field is presented. Such experiments were not possible to date using current state of the art geotechnical equipment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14549
JournalScientific Reports
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Sep 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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