The study employs numerical calculations in the characterization of reservoir sandstone samples based on high-resolution X-ray computed microtomography. The major goals were to determine porosity through pore size distribution, permeability characterization through pressure field, and structure impact on rock strength by simulation of a uniaxial compression test. Two Miocene samples were taken from well S-3, located in the eastern part of the Carpathian Foredeep. Due to the relation between sample size and image resolution, two X-ray irradiation series with two different sample sizes were performed. In the first approach, the voxel side was 27 μm and in the second it was up to 2 μm. Two samples from different depths have been studied here. Sample 1 has petrophysical features of conventional reservoir deposits, in contrast to sample 2. The approximate grain size of sample 1 is in the range 0.1-1.0 mm, whereas for sample 2 it is 0.01-0.1 mm with clear sedimentation lamination and heterogenic structure. The porosity, as determined by μCT, of sample 1 is twice (10.3%) that of sample 2 (5.3%). The equivalent diameter of a majority of pores is less than 0.027 mm and their pore size distribution is unimodal right-hand asymmetrical in the case of both samples. In relation to numerical permeability tests, the flow paths are in the few privileged directions where the pressure is uniformly decreasing. Nevertheless, there are visible connections in sample 1, as is confirmed by the homogenous distribution of particles in the pore space of the sample and demonstrated in the particle flow simulations. The estimated permeability of the first sample is approximately four times higher than that of the second one. The uniaxial compression test demonstrated the huge impact of even minimal heterogeneity of samples in terms of micropores: 4-5 times loss of strength compared to the undisturbed sample. The procedure presented shows the promising combination of microstructural analysis and numerical simulations. More specific calculations of lab tests with analysis of variable boundary conditions should be performed in the future.
The study concerns soil creep deformation in multistage triaxial stress tests under drained conditions. High resolution X-ray computed microtomography (XμCT) was involved in structure recognition before and after triaxial tests. Undisturbed Neogene clay samples, which are widespread in central Poland, were used in this study. XμCT was used to identify representative sample series and informed the detection and rejection of unreliable ones. Maximum deviatoric stress for in situ stress confining condition was equal 95.1 kPa. This result helped in the design of further multistage investigations. The study identified the rheological strain course, which can be broken down into three characterizations: decreasing creep strain rate, transitional constant creep velocity, and accelerating creep deformation. The study found that due to multistage creep loading, the samples were strengthened. Furthermore, there is a visibly “brittle” character of failure, which may be the consequence of the microstructure transformation as a function of time as well as collapse of voids. Due to the glacial tectonic history of the analyzed samples, the reactivation of microcracks might also serve as an explanation. The number of the various sizes of shear planes after failure is confirmed by XμCT overexposure.