Multimodal Evolution of Coal Permeability due to Interior Deformations within a Triple Porosity System

R. Shi, D. Elsworth, X. M. Wang, J. Shen, J. S. Liu, Z. Z. Wang

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Measurements of coal permeability are normally analyzed without considering the interaction among microfracture and pore size distributions within the sample (control volume). Without this inclusion, nearly all permeability predictions are monomodal as reported in the literature. However, experimental observations are multimodal for most cases. In this study, we hypothesize that these discrepancies or mismatches between measurements and analytical predictions are due to the exclusion of the interaction among microfracture and pore size distributions within the sample (control volume). We report a first experimental study of triple-porosity interactions on a prismatic sample containing millimeter-scale fractures (I) and micron-(II) through nanometer-scale (III) pores. Migration speeds of sorbing (e.g., CH4) gases are conditioned by the strain field, which is in turn conditioned by effective stresses and swelling strains. These distinct pore populations exhibit characteristic times for a time-staged equilibration of the strain field as multiple plateaus. This time-staged evolution of strain in turn delimits the evolving fracture permeability into a series of stages. The relatively high permeability of fractures and micropores defines a brief intermediate equilibrium permeability, after which the nanopore system controls the final permeability evolution. Our results indicate that the multimodal evolution of coal fracture permeability can be explained by the time-staged evolution of strain due to multiporosity interactions and could be defined by a time-staged equilibration of the strain fields as multiple plateaus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1945-1955
Number of pages11
JournalSPE Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology

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