3D characterization of coal strains induced by compression, carbon dioxide sorption, and desorption at in-situ stress conditions

J. Denis N. Pone, Phillip M. Halleck, Jonathan P. Mathews

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48 Scopus citations


Sequestration of carbon dioxide in unmineable coal seams is an option to combat climate change and an opportunity to enhance coalbed methane production. Prediction of sequestration potential in coal requires characterization of porosity, permeability, sorption capacity and the magnitude of swelling due to carbon dioxide uptake or shrinkage due to methane and water loss. Unfortunately, the majority of data characterizing coal-gas systems have been obtained from powdered, unconfined coal samples. Little is known about confined coal behavior during carbon dioxide uptake and methane desorption. The present work focuses on the characterization of lithotype specific deformation, and strain behavior during CO2 uptake at simulated in-situ stress conditions. It includes the evaluation of three-dimensional strain induced by the confining stress, the sorption, and the desorption of carbon dioxide. X-ray computed tomography allowed three-dimensional characterization of the bituminous coal deformation samples under hydrostatic stress. The application of 6.9MPa of confining stress contributes an average of -0.34% volumetric strain. Normal strains due to confining stress were -0.08%, -0.15% and -0.11% along the x, y and z axes respectively. Gas injection pressure was 3.1MPa and the excess sorption was 0.85mmol/g. Confined coal exposed to CO2 for 26days displays an average volumetric expansion of 0.4%. Normal strains due to CO2 sorption were 0.11%, 0.22% and 0.11% along x, y and z axes. Drainage of the CO2 induced an average of -0.33% volumetric shrinkage. Normal strains due to CO2 desorption were -0.23%, -0.08% and -0.02% along x, y and z axes. Alternating positive and negative strain values observed along the sample length during compression, sorption and desorption respectively emphasized that both localized compression/compaction and expansion of coal will occur during CO2 sequestration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-268
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Coal Geology
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Fuel Technology
  • Geology
  • Economic Geology
  • Stratigraphy


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