Minkowski functional evaluation of representative elementary volume of rock microtomography images at multiple resolutions

Saeid Sadeghnejad, Marcel Reinhardt, Frieder Enzmann, Pit Arnold, Bianca Brandstätter, Holger Ott, Fabian Wilde, Sarah Hupfer, Thorsten Schäfer, Michael Kersten

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Pore-scale properties can be obtained by building a reliable digital twin of porous media through the digital rock physics (DRP) workflow. The two prerequisites of DRP are reliable imaging and computing power. Determining a proper image resolution that can reveal the actual pore-scale properties is challenging as there is a trade-off between the resolution and the representative elementary volume (REV). The REV is the smallest volume that reproduces the properties of the whole porous medium. The REV is a function of heterogeneities on the pore scale, the parameter of interest, and the scale range. Although the REV analysis for hydraulic properties is straightforward, it is computationally expensive. This study aims to estimate hydraulic pore-scale properties during REV evaluations by the geometric characterization of porous media using the Minkowski morphological functionals. Two sandstone and one carbonate rock samples were scanned at multiple imaging resolutions by both laboratory and synchrotron tomography. The REVs of various parameters of interest (porosity, permeability, surface area, tortuosity, Minkowski functionals) were computed, and the effect of image resolution and artificial rebinning on the final REV values was examined. After reaching the REV for porosity, the REV for the integrals of mean and total curvature agreed well with the permeability REV for large-volume image sizes. At constant porosity, the Minkowski integrals were found to be indicators for pore throat sizes. We also showed that the properties obtained from the rebinned (or coarsened) images differ entirely from that of actual scans at the same resolution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104501
Number of pages19
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
Issue numberSeptember
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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