AGU Fall meeting 2017
Persistent Homology fingerprinting of microstructural controls on larger-scale fluid flow in porous media
Abstract
Traditional subsurface continuum multiphysics models include useful yet limiting geometrical assumptions: penny- or disc-shaped cracks, spherical or elliptical pores, bundles of capillary tubes, cubic law fracture permeability, etc. Each physics (flow, transport, mechanics) uses constitutive models with an increasing number of fit parameters that pertain to the microporous structure of the rock, but bear no inter-physics relationships or self-consistency. Recent advances in digital rock physics and pore-scale modeling link complex physics to detailed pore-level geometries, but measures for upscaling are somewhat unsatisfactory and come at a high computational cost. Continuum mechanics rely on a separation between small scale pore fluctuations and larger scale heterogeneity (and perhaps anisotropy), but this can break down (particularly for shales).
Algebraic topology offers powerful mathematical tools for describing a local-to-global structure of shapes. Persistent homology, in particular, analyzes the dynamics of topological features and summarizes into numeric values. It offers a roadmap to both “fingerprint” topologies of pore structure and multiscale connectedness as well as links pore structure to physical behavior, thus potentially providing a means to relate the dependence of constitutive behaviors of pore structures in a self-consistent way. We present a persistence homology (PH) analysis framework of 3D image sets including a focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy data set of the Selma Chalk. We extract structural characteristics of sampling volumes via persistence homology and fit a statistical model using the summarized values to estimate porosity, permeability, and connectivity—Lattice Boltzmann methods for single phase flow modeling are used to obtain the relationships. These PH methods allow for prediction of geophysical properties based on the geometry and connectivity in a computationally efficient way.
Sandia National Laboratories is a multimission laboratory managed and operated by National Technology and Engineering Solutions of Sandia LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell International Inc. for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration under contract DE-NA0003525.