Effect of fluid distribution on compressional wave propagation in partially saturated rocks
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Partial saturation of porous rock by two fluids substantially affects compressional wave propagation. In particular, partial saturation causes significant attenuation and dispersion due to wave-induced fluid flow. Such flow arises when a passing wave induces different fluid pressures in regions of rock saturated by different fluids. When partial saturation is mesoscopic, i.e. existing on a length scale much greater than pore scale but less than wavelength scale, significant attenuation can arise for frequencies 10-1000 Hz. Models for attenuation and dispersion due to mesoscale heterogeneities mostly assume fluids are distributed in a regular way. Recent experiments indicate mesoscopic heterogeneities have less idealised distributions and distribution affects attenuation/dispersion. Thus, theoretical models are required to simulate effects due to realistic fluid distributions.The thesis focus is to model attenuation and dispersion due to realistic mesoscopic fluid distributions and fluid contrasts. First X-ray tomographic images of partially saturated rock are analysed statistically to identify spatial measures useful for describing fluid distribution patterns. The correlation function and associated correlation length for a specific fluid type are shown to be of greatest utility. Next a new model, called 3DCRM (CRM stands for continuous random media) is derived, utilizing a correlation function to describe the fluid distribution pattern. It is a random media model, is accurate for small fluid contrast and approximate for large fluid contrast. Using 3DCRM attenuation and dispersion are shown to depend on fluid distribution.Next a general framework for partial saturation called APS (acoustics of partial saturation) is extended enabling estimation of attenuation and dispersion due to arbitrary 1D/3D fluid distributions. The intent is to construct a versatile model enabling attenuation and dispersion to be estimated for arbitrary fluid distributions, contrasts and saturations. Two crucial parameters within APS called shape and frequency scaling parameters are modified via asymptotic analysis using several random media models (which are accurate for only certain contrasts in fluid bulk moduli and percent saturation). For valid fluid contrasts and saturations, which satisfy certain random media conditions there is good correspondence between modified APS and the random media models, hence showing that APS can be utilized to model attenuation and dispersion due to more realistic fluid distributions.Finally I devise a numerical method to test the accuracy of the analytical shape parameters for a range of fluid distributions, saturations and contrasts. In particular, the analytical shape parameter for randomly distributed spheres was shown to be accurate for a large range of saturations and fluid contrasts.
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