Permeability and storativity of binary mixtures of high-and low-porosity materials

TitlePermeability and storativity of binary mixtures of high-and low-porosity materials
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsYves Bernabé, Uwe Mok, Brian Evans, Felix J. Herrmann
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
KeywordsModeling, permeability, porosity, SLIM

As a first step toward determining the mixing laws for the transport properties of rocks, we prepared binary mixtures of high- and low-permeability materials by isostatically hot-pressing mixtures of fine powders of calcite and quartz. The resulting rocks were marbles containing varying concentrations of dispersed quartz grains. Pores were present throughout the rock, but the largest ones were preferentially associated with the quartz particles, leading us to characterize the material as being composed of two phases, one with high permeability and the second with low permeability. We measured the permeability and storativity of these materials using the oscillating flow technique, while systematically varying the effective pressure and the period and amplitude of the input fluid oscillation. Control measurements performed using the steady state flow and pulse decay techniques agreed well with the oscillating flow tests. The hydraulic properties of the marbles were highly sensitive to the volume fraction of the high-permeability phase (directly related to the quartz content). Below a critical quartz content, slightly less than 20 wt %, the high-permeability volume elements were disconnected, and the overall permeability was low. Above the critical quartz content the high-permeability volume elements formed throughgoing paths, and permeability increased sharply. We numerically simulated fluid flow through binary materials and found that permeability approximately obeys a percolation-based mixing law, consistent with the measured permeability of the calcite-quartz aggregates.


Citation Keybernabe2004JGRpas