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WA branch tech talk: Digital Rock Under Stress

Event Type

Event Date

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Event Location

Event Address

The Shoe Bar and Cafe, 376 - 420 Wellington Street Perth, WA 6050 Australia

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Event Details

Title: Digital Rock Under Stress

Speaker: Professor Maxim Lebedev

Date and Time: 28 September 2023, 5:30 pm



Modelling the physical properties of rocks based on microstructure derived from X-ray microtomographic images (known as digital rock physics) is an important technology in geophysical rock characterisation. However, these images are most commonly obtained at room pressure and temperature conditions. Consequently, most digital rock physics models are not representative of the rocks at depth.

Reservoir rocks are at such depth that they experience high stresses and temperatures. The thermodynamic properties of the fluids inside the reservoir are pressure and temperature-dependent; therefore, transport properties are also temperature and pressure dependent. Moreover, it is well established that elastic rock properties of rocks are strongly affected by stress and/or fluid distribution. Thus, to acquire realistic pore network structures and fluid distributions (including, but not limited to, residual saturation) and reliably estimate transport and elastic properties from micro images, rocks with fluids inside have to be imaged at reservoir pressure and temperature conditions.

In this lecture, we will discuss how to obtain 3D images under elevated temperature and stress conditions and the challenges with imaging and further image processing. Finally, we will provide some results to demonstrate how the microstructure of the rocks can be linked to the transport and elastic properties of rocks measured on bigger samples.

The lecture is useful to rock physicists, petrophysicists, and reservoir engineers.


Maxim is a Professor at Edith Cowan University, Australia. Maxim was awarded BS, MS and PhD degrees from the Moscow Institute (State University) of Physics and Technology in Russia. He has over 30 years of research experience in physics, material science and rock physics, working at leading research organizations in Russia, Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2007 he joined Curtin University, and during 16 years at this University, he built a rock physics laboratory from scratch and  became the head of the experimental rock physics program. Recently he moved to Edith Cowan University. He has published over 180 peer-reviewed journal papers and is the inventor of 11 international patents. His current research is focused on the properties of subsurface reservoir rocks and minerals, including elastic and unelastic properties of rocks at teleseismic, seismic and ultrasonic frequencies; digital rock physic; mechanical properties of rocks at microlevel (nanoindentation); direct observation of multiphase fluid distribution inside rocks at reservoir conditions (microCT).