Linking sub-pore scale heterogeneity of biological and geochemical deposits with changes in permeability
Ghezzehei, T. A.
Advances in Water Resources, vol. 39, pp. 1-6 , 2012.
Subsurface geochemical and biological transformations often influence fluid flow by altering the pore space morphology and related hydrologic properties such as porosity and permeability. In most coupled-processes models changes in porosity are inferred from geochemical and biological process models using mass-balance. The corresponding evolution of permeability is estimated using (semi-) empirical porosity–permeability functions such as the Kozeny–Carman equation or power-law functions. These equations typically do not account for the heterogeneous spatial distribution and morphological irregularities of the geochemical precipitates and biomass. As a result, predictions of permeability evolution are generally unsatisfactory. In this communication, we demonstrate the significance of pore-scale precipitate distribution on porosity–permeability relations using high resolution simulations of fluid flow through a single pore interspersed with crystals. Based on these simulations, we propose a modification to the Kozeny–Carman model that accounts for the shape of the deposits. Limited comparison with published experimental data suggests the plausibility of the proposed conceptual model.