Rock Mechanics

Printing out the pores

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Science  05 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6299, pp. 554-555
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6299.554-c

The diversity of three-dimensional (3D) printing applications now includes fabricating porous rocks. The organization of pore space in rocks strongly influences their strength and fluid flow through them. Head and Vanorio constructed virtual 3D images of rocks by using x-ray tomography, which they followed with a series of pore microgeometry modifications and 3D printing of samples. Measurements of fluid flow through the samples brings deeper understanding to how processes such as mineral precipitation and compaction clog up the pore network. This technique helps reverse-engineer how rocks get their pore structure and offers a method for measuring flow properties through delicate samples.

Geophys. Res. Lett. 10.1002/2016GL069334 (2016).

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