, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 343-355
Date: 09 Dec 2005

A machine vision system for quantifying velocity fields in complex rock models

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In this paper we describe a machine vision system capable of high-resolution measurement of fluid velocity fields in complex 2D models of rock, providing essential data for the validation of the numerical models which are widely applied in the oil and petroleum industries. Digital models, incorporating the properties of real rock, are first generated, then physically replicated as layers of resin or aluminium (200 mm × 200 mm) encapsulated between transparent plates as a flowcell. This configuration enables the geometry to be permeated with fluid and fluid motion visualised using particle image velocimetry. Fluid velocity fields are then computed using well-tested cross-correlation techniques.

Rachel Cassidy is a Research Associate in Geophysics at the University of Ulster. Dr. Cassidy's research interests include percolation theory and its application to fluid flow in fractured rock, the fractal and multifractal properties of natural phenomena and the development of experimental techniques for investigating fluid flow in porous fractured media with realistic structure and exhibiting scale invariance. She is currently involved in the development of molecular tracer techniques for characterising reservoir heterogeneity.
Philip Morrow is currently a Senior Lecturer in the School of Computing and Information Engineering at the University of Ulster. Dr. Morrow has a BSc in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, an MSc in Electronics and a PhD in Parallel Image Processing, all from the Queen's University of Belfast. His main research interests lie in image processing, computer vision and parallel/distributed computing. He has published over 65 research papers in these areas.
John McCloskey is Professor of Geophysics and Head of the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Ulster. Prof. McCloskey's research interests are in the application of ideas of chaos and complexity to a variety of geophysical problems including earthquake dynamics and fluid flow in fractured porous rock. He has published over 100 articles and is a regular contributor to international press on matters connected with earth science.