Fluid expulsion in low permeability rocks and the mechanism of reaction-driven fracturing
A) Reaction-induced hydro-fractures in gelatin, B) Processed image of a fracture pattern recorded during experiment.
In this project we will perform laboratory experiments to study the process of natural reaction-induced fracturing occurring in low permeability rocks such as shales.
These experiments will mimic the in-situ primary migration of oil out of organic-rich shales. We will use hydrous gelatin gel as a shale analogue, and yeast as an analogue for the organic matter. The yeast will generate CO2 (analogue for oil), and this will increase the pore pressure and ‘break’ the gelatin.
Mica powder and glass beads will be added to simulate shale heterogeneity. We will image the experiment with high resolution camera’s, and we will expand on pre-existing codes to process the image time series.
If desired, part of the project may be performed in France, in collaboration with the University of Grenoble and/or the University of Le Mans.