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Theme 3: Reactivity

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concentration profile of precipitates on surface

(Left) Precipitate surface concentration (color field) overlapped with flow streamlines (solid black lines) in a wavy permeable microchannel at different time steps (and low Reynolds number). Warm colors correspond to higher surface concentrations, i.e. scale/coating accumulation. Direct numerical simulations (DNS) demonstrate that coating development is localized in hydrodynamic recirculation and low shear zones, where reactant accumulation is favored and pore-scale mixing enhanced (Ling & Battiato, 2018). (Right) Microchip used to study the impact between transport in the fracture and matrix permeability. The DNS solution perfectly matches the experimentally measured concentration field at the pore-scale.

micromodel design

Conceptualization of increased complexity: (a) Passive transport in topologically complex fracture/microfracture microfluidic systems.; (b) Reactive transport (and precipitation/dissolution) in topologically complex fracture/microfracture microfluidic systems. Glass bounding walls will permit observation of reactions using optical microscopy. Glass surface can be removed for ex-situ X-ray microprobe (XRM) mapping of mineral distributions and 2D synchrotron micro-SAXS mapping of porosity; (c) Reactive transport in micromachined shales.

Chemical reactions at fluid-shale interfaces, such as mineral precipitation or carbonate dissolution, occur at multiple scales and may induce significant changes in transport properties of the bulk rock. It is also expected that local stress gradients and preexisting, geological non-bedding microstructural heterogeneities (such as the presence of relatively incompressible mineral grains) exert significant control over transport and chemical reaction progress. Thus, reaction fronts marking sharp gradients in pH, mineral solubility, redox conditions, or other fluid-solid interactions develop at grain boundaries, microcrack interfaces and/or local heterogeneities, as well as at fracture network scales and influence ultimately the overall evolution of rock properties (transport and mechanical). This coupled evolution is critical to understanding and manipulating reactivity and transport properties of shale-fluid interfaces for ends such as improved hydrocarbon production efficiency, improved reactive flow of hydrothermal fluids, and controlled adsorption/desorption of cations, anions, and molecules.
This discussion emphasizes the importance of understanding coupling between microcracks, fluid transport, and chemical/mechanical shale alteration. Simple scaling models and current numerical models cannot predict the evolution of shale-fluid interfaces over time, yet this parameter partly controls the behavior of the rock over timescales from days to decades. In addition to transport rates, we propose to explore two critical parameters: (i) the nature of the reaction network that controls the kinetics and (ii) the opening (or closing) of porosity and exposure (or occlusion) of surface area at the reaction fronts.

Jennifer Druhan
Jennifer Druhan
Theme Leader
Ilenia Battiato
Ilenia Battiato


Christopher Zahasky
Chris Zahasky