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Sealing Artificial Fractures

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The ultimate aim of this research is to design an engineered carbonate precipitation methodology to seal narrow aperture fractures located at depth. To this end we investigate experimentally the spatial and temporal evolution of carbonate precipitation in small idealised fractures. We use microbially mediated reactions to reproduce the precipitation. Our experiments show a gradual decrease in average fracture aperture accompanied by a progressive focussing of fluid pathways within the fracture plane onto an increasingly small number of discrete channels. Once the parameters controlling this precipitation have been determined a computer model will be developed to aid in designing a large scale methodology to seal a large scale natural fracture system.

Sections of fracture network blocked after 3 biological treatments

Evidence of sequential layering through the use of alternating coloured dyes

Last Updated on Friday, 17 June 2011 10:58