Pore Structure

A microscopic description characterizes the structure of the pores. The objective of a pore-structure analysis is to provide a description that relates to the macroscopic or bulk flow properties. The major bulk properties that need to be correlated with pore description or characterization are the four basic parameters: porosity, permeability, tortuosity and connectivity. In studying different samples of the same medium, it becomes apparent that the number of pore sizes, shapes, orientations and interconnections are enormous. Due to this complexity, pore-structure description is most often a statistical distribution of apparent pore sizes. This distribution is apparent because to convert measurements to pore sizes one must resort to models that provide average or model pore sizes. A common approach to defining a characteristic pore size distribution is to model the porous medium as a bundle of straight cylindrical or rectangular capillaries (refer to Figure 2). The diameters of the model capillaries are defined on the basis of a convenient distribution function.

Pore structure for unconsolidated media is inferred from a particle size distribution, the geometry of the particles and the packing arrangement of particles. The theory of packing is reasonably well established for symmetrical geometries such as spheres and cylinders. Information on particle size, geometry and packing theory allows us to develop relationships between pore size distributions and particle size distributions. A macroscopic description is based on average or bulk properties at sizes much larger than a single pore. In characterizing a porous medium macroscopically, one must deal with the scale of description. The scale used depends on the manner and size in which we wish to model the porous medium. A simplified approach is to assume the medium to be ideal; meaning homogeneous, uniform and isotropic.

Figure 2. Simplified capillary view of flow through pores
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