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DE-SC0017585: Quantitative Assessment of the couplings among frictional, seismic, and transport properties of fractured rock

Award Status: Active
  • Institution: The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
  • DUNS: 003403953
  • Most Recent Award Date: 09/10/2023
  • Number of Support Periods: 7
  • PM: Wilk, Philip
  • Current Budget Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2024
  • Current Project Period: 09/01/2023 - 08/31/2026
  • PI: Shokouhi, Parisa
  • Supplement Budget Period: N/A

Public Abstract

Successful geothermal energy production, CO2 sequestration, hydrogen storage and nuclear waste disposal require knowledge of subsurface fractures. Fracture network geometry and deformations control rock permeability and seismicity, which directly influences recovery rates of water, energy and fuels and impact the safety and longevity of waste isolation. There is a critical need to image fractures and faults (for example using seismic surveys) and quantify fluid-injection induced earthquakes by understanding how fluid injection reactivates faults and triggers earthquakes. We conduct laboratory experiments that combine measurements of frictional and seismic response as well as fluid flow of fractured rock under stress with in-situ synchrotron X-ray imaging. The X-ray imaging is key in quantifying the evolution of in-situ fracture geometry and in relating the measured frictional, seismic and permeability responses. In addition, high-resolution X-ray images will be used to create numerical models that closely simulate the hydromechanical properties of fractured rock to allow upscaling of our laboratory results and understand reservoir-scale behavior. The proposed work addresses societally relevant issues such as induced seismicity and low/zero-carbon energy while probing fundamental scientific problems related to the mechanistic couplings among the frictional, permeability and seismic properties of fractured rock. Relying on a unique set of coupled experiments and associated modeling, our research will provide a new understanding of complex interconnections among frictional, poromechanical, and seismic properties of rock and new insights into the evolution of rock properties and seismic hazards associated with energy production and the injection of fluids in deep reservoirs.

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