Using X-ray computed tomography in pore structure characterization for a Berea sandstone: Resolution effect
SummaryX-ray computed tomography (XCT) is a powerful tool for detecting the micro-scale pore structure and has been applied to many natural and synthetic porous media. However, due to the resolution limitations, either non-representative view of the sample or inaccurate results can be produced from the XCT image processing. In this paper, two XCT (micro-CT and CT with synchrotron radiation) with different resolutions of 12.7 μm and 0.35 μm, as well as mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) with a minimum detection limit of 3 nm, were used for Berea sandstone to investigate the effect of detecting resolution on the pore structure. Several key pore structure parameters, including porosity, pore size distribution, pore connectivity, surface area, hydraulic radius, and aspect ratio were analyzed in a manner of quantitative comparison between different resolutions of XCT and MIP. The low resolution XCT can capture the large-pore porosity, while overestimates the pore size and pore connectivity. The high resolution XCT is more accurate in describing the pore shape, porosity, pore size; however, it is not representative since narrower detecting pore size range and small volume represented. A representative element volume related to large-pore porosity and probably large-pore connectivity with diameter and height of 2.8 mm is obtained through scale effect analysis. Therefore, selecting an appropriate resolution should be a compromise between the pore size and the representative element volume for the specific property or process of interest.