Combination of MRI and SEM to Assess Changes in the Chemical Properties and Permeability of Porous Media due to Barite Precipitation

Poonoosamy, Jenna GND; Haber-Pohlmeier, Sabina GND; Deng, Hang; Deissmann, Guido GND; Klinkenberg, Martina GND; Gizatullin, Bulat GND; Stapf, Siegfried GND; Brandt, Felix; Bosbach, Dirk GND; Pohlmeier, Andreas

The understanding of the dissolution and precipitation of minerals and its impact on the transport of fluids in porous media is essential for various subsurface applications, including shale gas production using hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”), CO2 sequestration, or geothermal energy extraction. In this work, we conducted a flow through column experiment to investigate the effect of barite precipitation following the dissolution of celestine and consequential permeability changes. These processes were assessed by a combination of 3D non-invasive magnetic resonance imaging, scanning electron microscopy, and conventional permeability measurements. The formation of barite overgrowths on the surface of celestine manifested in a reduced transverse relaxation time due to its higher magnetic susceptibility compared to the original celestine. Two empirical nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) porosity–permeability relations could successfully predict the observed changes in permeability by the change in the transverse relaxation times and porosity. Based on the observation that the advancement of the reaction front follows the square root of time, and micro-continuum reactive transport modelling of the solid/fluid interface, it can be inferred that the mineral overgrowth is porous and allows the diffusion of solutes, thus affecting the mineral reactivity in the system. Our current investigation indicates that the porosity of the newly formed precipitate and consequently its diffusion properties depend on the supersaturation in solution that prevails during precipitation.


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