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Geomechanical Measurements

Question: How can measurements of geomechanical properties at pore and core scales
be improved?

John Popovics Question Leader:
John Popovics, PhD
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. John S. Popovics is a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and also holds the title of CEE Excellence Scholar. His research findings have been published in four chapters in books and over 70 articles in peer-reviewed technical journals. He received the National Science Foundation CAREER award in 1999, the ASNT Fellowship Award in 2012, and the ASNT Faculty Award in 2014. He has been recognized as a Fellow of the American Concrete Institute and the American Society for Nondestructive Testing, and he is a registered professional engineer in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Over the past 20 years, Dr. Popovics has been actively engaged in research funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and The National Academy of Sciences and Engineering, among other agencies. His research program investigates testing, analysis, and novel measurements for infrastructure and geologic materials. His areas of expertise include wave propagation modeling and testing, material nondestructive testing and imaging, and innovative sensing technologies.


Hypothesis Statement: Completion of coordinated but distinct laboratory-scale experiments focusing on characterization of thermo-hydro-mechanical properties of rock will provide improved measurement capability and technology and will further enable the linkage of important reservoir material behavior processes, specifically injection-induced microseismicity, across the pore and core scales.

This research theme will address fundamental questions regarding the laboratory measurements of mechanical properties of rocks perturbed by the process of CO2 storage. New (e.g., X-ray CT [computed tomography] scanning, advanced ultrasonics, and magnetometry) and conventional (e.g., acoustic emission, electrical resistivity) experimental measurement methods will be deployed to study the effects of brine and CO2 injection on the stress field, mechanical properties, and induced microseismic activity of sandstone samples subjected to simulated injection environments. The influences of stress and saturation on the observed behavior will be separated by testing different sample sets similarly. Intact samples will be tested to establish baseline behavior. Samples with simulated geologic features will be tested under the baseline pore fluid saturation to enhance stress fields and thus understand those influences. This research question intends to (1) link a disparate set of existing and novel material measurements in a meaningful way to thermo-hydro-mechanical properties of geologic materials and (2) fuse disparate data sets in an effective way to better understand subsurface properties and processes experienced by geomaterials subjected to simulated CO2 injection. Test data and images from different length scales and phenomenological bases will provide, when considered together, a deeper understanding of thermo-hydro-mechanical properties of materials associated with geologic storage and induced seismicity.

A need exists for improved measurement methods to better understand the fundamental behavior of rock materials with regard to mechanisms of injection-induced microseismicity and prediction of its occurrence. The proposed research directly addresses this issue, providing fundamental insights into the mechanical properties and dynamic behavior of meso-porous rocks. These insights will empower laboratory-scale studies using cutting-edge technology to better represent and understand subsurface properties related to the effects of CO2 injection on the mechanical properties and dynamic response of the host rock.

Alexey Bezryadin

Alexey Bezryadin, PhD
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Alexey Bezryadin is a tenured faculty member of the Department of Physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He joined the Department in August of 2000 and now holds the rank of professor. His research findings have been published in a monograph titled Superconductivity in nanowires and over seventy research articles in high-impact journals, such as Physical Review B, Physical Review Letters, Science, Nature, and others. He received both the National Science Foundation CAREER award and Alfred Sloan Research Fellowship in 2002. He received the Xerox award in 2004 and was recognized as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2014 for his work on nanometer-scale conductors. During the last 19 years, Dr. Bezryadin has been actively engaged in research funded by the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy, and the Office of Naval Research. His areas of expertise include high-precision electric transport measurements, nanometer-scale electronic system and devices, low-temperature experiments, and magnetic and microwave measurements.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson, PhD
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Dr. Paul Johnson obtained his PhD in physical Acoustics and geophysics from the Sorbonne (Paris VII), after obtaining an MS degree in geophysics from the University of Arizona, and a BS degree in geology from the University of New Mexico. He is a Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Geophysical Union and the American Physical Society. Dr. Johnson’s work includes studies in earthquake fault processes, nonlinear elasticity in Earth materials, time reverse acoustics, general acoustics, seismology, and earthquake strong ground motion.

Pierre-Yves Le Bas

Pierre-Yves Le Bas, PhD
Los Alamos National Laboratory

Dr. Pierre-Yves Le Bas obtained his MS in electronics and applied physics and doctorate in acoustics from the University of Le Havre, France. His work includes material characterization and nondestructive testing using nonlinear acoustics and time reversal as well as developing instrumentation for experiments in multiple domains, including acoustics and detonation science. He is involved in multiple collaborations with the oil and gas industry for rock formation characterization.

Roman Makhnenko

Roman Makhnenko, PhD
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Roman Makhnenko received his undergraduate degree in mechanics and applied mathematics at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia, in 2007. He then obtained his MSc (2009) and PhD (2013) degrees in geological and civil engineering from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. From 2013 to 2016, Roman worked as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL, Switzerland). Dr. Makhnenko has expertise in geomechanics and development of novel methods in laboratory characterization of fluid-saturated geomaterials under elevated temperatures and pressures with applications to deep CO2 storage, gas shales, and hydraulic fracturing. His current research is related to assessment of geological storage of CO2, including thermo-hydro-mechanical and petrophysical characterization of possible host rock (sandstones and limestones) and caprock (shales) in contact with high-pressure CO2.

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