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Creation of synthetic samples for physical modelling of natural shaleNormal access

Authors: Xinyuan Luan, Bangrang Di, Jianxin Wei, Jianguo Zhao and Xiangyang Li
Journal name: Geophysical Prospecting
Issue: Vol 64, No 4, July 2016 pp. 898 - 914
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2478.12382
Organisations: Wiley
Special topic: Advances in Rock Physics
Language: English
Info: Article, PDF ( 30.96Mb )

Natural shale samples, particularly well-preserved, drilled core samples, are extremely difficult to obtain for laboratory research. Multiple tests must be carried out on one sample, and some samples are disposed after destructive tests. Therefore, rarity and non-reusability of samples strongly restrict shale studies. In this study, based on statistical data from the world’s major shale block, a new type of synthetic shale was physically constructed via a process of interfusion, stuffing, and compaction using quartz, clay, carbonate, and kerogen as the primary materials, according to statistical data from the world’s major shale blocks. Further evaluation of the synthetic shale involved the use of scanning electron microscopy imagery and analysis of its anisotropic characteristics in comparison with natural shale. The synthetic shale had a laminated microstructure similar to natural shale, and its velocity anisotropy corresponded to Thomsen’s anisotropy of a transversely isotropic medium. The results of tests for homogeneity and repeatability indicated that the construction process was stable and that several identical synthetic samples, which were satisfactorily similar to natural shale, could be produced for both iterative and destructive tests. The composition of each mineral, as well as the density, porosity, permeability, and anisotropy of the samples, were all variable. Therefore, a series of synthetic samples could be obtained with properties set to meet the requirements of petrophysical experimentation. Moreover, gas or oil saturation was also considered in the construction of the synthetic shale, meaning that the characteristics of gas or oil saturation (or the complete range of data from dry to saturated samples) could be tested using the synthetic shale.

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