Evolution of pore-scale morphology of oil shale during pyrolysis - a quantitative analysis

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Changes of morphological parameters of oil shale under thermal conditions are investigated. Analyses are based on 26 micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) images of Green River immature shale rock available under creative commons license. Several image-processing and characterisation algorithms are applied to sequential high-resolution micro-CT images of oil shale samples undergoing pyrolysis. Pore-scale morphology is extracted and quantified, providing results for pore size, throat size, grain size, specific surface, coordination number, and fracture aperture. The results demonstrate critical increases of porosity, coordination number and fracture aperture in the temperature range from 390 to 400 °C, which translates into step change in the transport properties of the shale after pyrolysis. It is further observed, that the coordination spectrum, the pore and throat size distributions, become smoother during the pyrolysis process. The morphological characteristics presented here enable advanced microstructure-informed approaches to pore-scale modelling of transport for optimising oil production.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-162
Number of pages20
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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