Modeling \(\hbox {CO}_2\)-Induced Alterations in Mt. Simon Sandstone via Nanomechanics

Abstract

The objective of this work is to formulate a novel and physics-based nanomechanics framework to connect geochemical reactions in host rock to the resulting morphological changes at the microscopic lengthscale and to the resulting geomechanical changes at the macroscopic lengthscale. The key idea is to monitor the fraction of minerals based on their mechanical signature. We illustrate this procedure on the Mt. Simon sandstone from the Illinois Basin. To this end, various acidic fluid systems were applied to Mt. Simon sandstone specimens. The chemistry, morphology, microstructure, and mechanical characteristics were investigated across multiple lengthscales. Grid indentation was carried out with a total of 6900 individual indentation tests performed on 24 specimens. A good agreement was observed between the composition computed using statistical nanoindentation and measurements employing independent methods such as scanning electron microscopy, electron-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction analyses, mercury intrusion porosimetry, flow perporometry, and helium pycnometry. An increase in porosity and a decrease in K-feldspar content were observed following the incubation in \(\hbox {CO}_2\)-saturated brine, suggesting dissolution reactions involving feldspar. Thus, a rigorous methodology is presented to connect geochemical reactions and related compositional changes at the nano- and microscopic scales to alterations of the constitutive behavior at the macroscopic level.

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Fig. 1

Adapted with permission from Bauer et al. (2016). ©2016 Elsevier

Fig. 2

Reprinted with permission from Locke et al. (2013). ©2013 Elsevier

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Notes

  1. 1.

    The normalized root mean squared error is defined as

    $$\begin{aligned} \mathrm{NRMSE}=\frac{\sqrt{\frac{\hat{y}_i-y_i}{N}}}{y_\mathrm{max}-y_\mathrm{min}}, \end{aligned}$$

    where \((y_i)_{1\le i \le N}\) are the experimental data points and \((\hat{y}_i)_{1\le i \le N}\) is the theoretical prediction.

  2. 2.

    There is no clear consensus as to whether helium pycnometry can sense closed-off porosity.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported as part of the Center for Geologic Storage of CO2, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Basic Energy Sciences under Award # DE-SC0C12504. The authors would like to thank the Illinois State Geological Survey for providing the Mt. Simon sandstone specimens tested and analyzed in this investigation. The work was carried out in part in the Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory Central Research Facilities, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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Correspondence to Ange-Therese Akono.

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Appendices

Statistical Deconvolution Results

See Table 7.

Table 7 Summary of porosity, quartz, feldspar, and siderite volume content in % for Mt. Simon sandstone specimens subject to different alteration cycles

Statistical Deconvolution Graphs

Figures 14, 15 display the indentation modulus–packing density curves for the porous phases on unaltered and altered Mt Simon sandstone specimens. Meanwhile, Figs. 16, 17 display the indentation hardness–indentation modulus graphs for unaltered and altered Mt. Simon sandstone specimens.

Fig. 14
figure14

Indentation modulus–packing density curves for unaltered and altered Mt. Simon sandstone specimens. ad Unaltered Mt. Simon sandstone 6927-U, ej Unaltered Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-U, km Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-A incubated in brine A for 14 days at a temperature of \(22^\circ \hbox {C}\) under atmospheric pressure, no Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-B incubated in brine B for 14 days at a temperature of \(22\,^\circ \hbox {C}\) under atmospheric pressure

Fig. 15
figure15

Indentation modulus–packing density curves for unaltered and altered Mt. Simon sandstone specimens. ad Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-B incubated in brine C for 14 days at a temperature of \(22^\circ \hbox {C}\) under atmospheric pressure. ei Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-AS1 incubated in brine D saturated with \(\hbox {CO}_2\) for 1 week at a temperature of \(50\,^\circ \hbox {C}\) and a pressure of 2500 psi

Fig. 16
figure16

Indentation hardness–indentation modulus graphs for unaltered and altered Mt. Simon sandstone specimens. ad Unaltered Mt. Simon sandstone 6927-U, ej Unaltered Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-U, km Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-A incubated in brine A for 14 days at a temperature of \(22\,^\circ \hbox {C}\) under atmospheric pressure, no Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-B incubated in brine B for 14 days at a temperature of \(22\,^\circ \hbox {C}\) under atmospheric pressure

Fig. 17
figure17

Indentation hardness–indentation modulus graphs for unaltered and altered Mt. Simon sandstone specimens. ad Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-B incubated in brine C for 14 days at a temperature of \(22\,^\circ \hbox {C}\) under atmospheric pressure. ei Mt. Simon sandstone 6925-AS1 incubated in brine D saturated with \(\hbox {CO}_2\) for 1 week at a temperature of \(50\,^\circ\) and a pressure of 2500 psi

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Akono, A., Kabir, P., Shi, Z. et al. Modeling \(\hbox {CO}_2\)-Induced Alterations in Mt. Simon Sandstone via Nanomechanics. Rock Mech Rock Eng 52, 1353–1375 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-018-1655-2

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Keywords

  • Geochemical reactions
  • Induced seismicity
  • Geological carbon sequestration
  • Sandstone
  • Multiscale modeling
  • Statistical nanoindentation