Journal of contaminant hydrology

Three dimensional imaging of porosity and tracer concentration distributions in a dolostone sample during diffusion experiments using X-ray micro-CT.

PMID 23298531


X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) techniques for measuring the three-dimensional (3-D) distributions of diffusion-accessible porosity (φ(d)) and temporal tracer-concentrations (C(t)) within a dolostone sample subjected to solute diffusion are developed and tested in this work. The φ(d) and C(t) measurements are based on spatially resolved changes in X-ray attenuation coefficients in sequentially acquired 3-D micro-CT datasets using two (calibration and relative) analytical approaches. The measured changes in X-ray attenuation coefficient values are a function of the mass of X-ray absorbing potassium-iodide tracer present in voxels. Mean φ(d) values of 3.8% and 6.5% were obtained with the calibration and the relative approaches, respectively. The detection limits for φ(d) measurements at individual voxel locations are 20% and 36% with the calibration and the relative methods, respectively. The detection limit for C(t) are 0.12 M and 0.22 M with the calibration and the relative approaches, respectively. Results from the calibration method are affected by a beam-hardening artifact and although results from the relative approach are not affected by the artifact, they are subject to high detection limits. This work presents a quantitative assessment of micro-CT data for studies of solute transport. Despite limitations in precision and accuracy, the method provides quantitative 3-D distributions of φ(d) and C(t) that reflect solute diffusion in heterogeneous porous geologic media.