Lauren E. Beckingham

Virtual Event

Improving Understanding of Mineral Reaction Rates and Permeability Evolution in Porous Media

Environmental Engineering Graduate Seminar

Lauren E. Beckingham, Assistant Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Auburn University

Bio: Lauren E. Beckingham is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Auburn University. She holds a Ph.D. and MA in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Princeton University and a B.S. in Environmental Engineering from MichiganTechnological University. Prior to joining Auburn, she was a Geochemical Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Her expertise and interests are in understanding water−rock interactions in environmental systems, particularly in subsurface energy systems including geologic CO2 sequestration and compressed energy storage. Her laboratory is currently supported by NSF, including a 2019 CAREER award, ACS PRF, and DOE.

Abstract: Mineral dissolution and precipitation reactions occur in porous media as a result of natural weathering processes, environmental pollution (such as acid mine drainage), and emerging applications utilizing the subsurface in energy systems including energy storage and geologic CO2 sequestration. These reactions can have large impacts on formation properties, including porosity and permeability. However, the rate and impact of these reactions are not well-understood resulting in orders of magnitude discrepancies between laboratory and field measured reaction rates which translates into limited predictive capabilities of subsurface permeability evolution. In this work, multi-scale imaging is combined with laboratory experiments and pore-to-core scale reactive transport simulations to enhance understanding and simulation of mineral reaction rates in porous media and corresponding changes in porosity and permeability. Mineral reactive surface areas and pore network structures, extracted from 2D SEM, 3D X-ray CT, and FIB-SEM imaging, are used in pore and continuum scale reactive transport simulations. This unique combination of imaging and simulations yields a more accurate depiction of mineral reaction rates in porous media, as validated through core-flood experiments, and increased understanding of porosity-permeability relationships.  Overall, we find accessible mineral surface area better reflects mineral reactive surface area in porous media compared to traditional approximation approaches and permeability evolution depends on the spatial distribution of reactions within the pore network.

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Monday, September 21 at 3:00 p.m.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering


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