Paiman Shafabakhsh

and 8 more

Advances in micro-scale imaging techniques, such as X-ray microtomography, have provided new insights into a broad range of porous media processes. However, direct imaging of flow and transport processes remains challenging due to spatial and temporal resolution limitations. Here, we investigate the use of dynamic three-dimensional neutron imaging to image flow and transport in Bentheim sandstone core samples before and after in-situ calcium carbonate precipitation. First, we demonstrate the applicability of neutron imaging to quantify the solute dispersion along the interface between heavy water and a cadmium aqueous solution. Then, we monitor the flow of heavy water within two Bentheim sandstone core samples before and after a step of in-situ mineral precipitation. The precipitation of calcium carbonate is induced by reactive mixing of two solutions containing CaCl2 and Na2CO3, either by injecting these two fluids one after each other (sequential experiment) or by injecting them in parallel (co-flow experiment). We use the contrast in neutron attenuation from time-lapse tomograms to derive three-dimensional fluid velocity field by using an inversion technique based on the advection-dispersion equation. Results show mineral precipitation induces a wider distribution of local flow velocities and leads to alterations in the main flow pathways. The flow distribution appears to be independent of the initial distribution in the sequential experiment, while in the co-flow experiment, we observed that higher initial local fluid velocities tended to increase slightly following precipitation. These findings suggest that neutron imaging is a promising technique to investigate dynamics processes in porous media.