Fractures strongly influence fluid flow in the subsurface, especially when hosted within low permeability rock such as shale and granite, as is the case for geoengineering applications including geological CO2 sequestration and geothermal energy. For these applications, stress changes and deformation due to fluid injection may cause fractures to slip and potentially create new pathways for flow.
The proposed project aims to better understand the evolving permeability of rock during deformation, including fault formation, sliding of a fault, and fault sealing. For this, we will conduct direct shear experiments at NGI within a triaxial cell, whilst performing simultaneous fluid flow and geophysical measurements on intact and fractured rock samples. Selected samples will be relevant to Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) and geothermal energy. Experiments may also be conducted within our X-ray micro-CT scanner.
You will have the opportunity to contribute to the laboratory experiments and process and interpret laboratory mechanical, geophysical, and 3D image data. The results will be placed within the context of CCS and geothermal energy. The project will begin by studying existing relevant datasets and a review of the literature. The experimental work will begin in the second half of 2022.
The project requires an interest in rock mechanics, hydrogeology, signal processing, data science, and scientific programming (mostly in Python).