GRAVITY DRIVEN CHEMICAL DYNAMICS IN FRACTURES
thesisposted on 16.12.2020, 15:16 by Zhenyu Xu
Global warming is considered to result from excessive emission of CO2 caused by human activity. The security of long term CO2 capture and sequestration on the subsurface depends on the integrity of caprocks. Natural and engineered subsurface activities can generate fractures in caprocks that can lead to CO2 leakage. Reactive fluids that flow through a fracture may seal a fracture through mineral precipitation or open a fracture through dissolution. It is extremely useful to CO2 storage to understand the behavior of reactive fluids that generates mineral precipitation that can seal a fracture. Experiments on non-reactive and reactive fluid mixing were performed to explore gravity-driven chemical dynamics that control the mixing and spatial distribution of mineral precipitates. Fracture inclination, fracture apertures, fluid pumping rates, and density contrasts between fluids were studied for their effects on fluid mixing. From non-reactive fluid mixing experiments, a less dense fluid was found to be confined to a narrow path (runlet) by the denser fluid under the influence of gravity. Fracture inclination angle affected the shape of the less dense fluid runlet. As the angle of inclination decreased, the area of the less dense runlet increased. Improved mixing and a potentially larger area of precipitation formation will occur during reactive fluid mixing when the fracture plane is perpendicular to gravity. Fracture aperture affected the time evolution of the mixing of the fluids, while pumping rate affected fluid mixing by controlling the relative velocities between the two fluids. The fact that the spatial distribution of the two fluids, instead of the fracture roughness, dominated the fluid mixing sheds light on the potential behaviors of reactive fluids mixing in fractures. The location for the majority of precipitation formation and the transport of precipitates can be accordingly predicted from knowledge of the properties of the two reactive fluids and the orientation of the fracture.
From a small study on wave propagation across fractures with precipitates, simulation results showed that the impedance difference between the matrix material and the precipitate affects the transmitted signal amplitude. Both the aperture and fraction of aperture filled with precipitates affect signal amplitude.