Novel laboratory methods for determining the fine scale electrical resistivity structure of core

Haslam, E.P.; Gunn, D.A.; Jackson, P.D.; Lovell, M.A.; Aydin, A.; Prance, R.J.; Watson, P.. 2014 Novel laboratory methods for determining the fine scale electrical resistivity structure of core. Journal of Applied Geophysics, 111. 384-392.

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High-resolution electrical resistivity measurements are made on saturated rocks using novel laboratory instrumentation and multiple electrical voltage measurements involving in principle a four-point electrode measurement but with a single, moving electrode. Flat, rectangular core samples are scanned by varying the electrode position over a range of hundreds of millimetres with an accuracy of a tenth of a millimetre. Two approaches are tested involving a contact electrode and a non-contact electrode arrangement. The first galvanic method uses balanced cycle switching of a floating direct current (DC) source to minimise charge polarisation effects masking the resistivity distribution related to fine scale structure. These contacting electrode measurements are made with high common mode noise rejection via differential amplification with respect to a reference point within the current flow path. A computer based multifunction data acquisition system logs the current through the sample and voltages along equipotentials from which the resistivity measurements are derived. Multiple measurements are combined to create images of the surface resistivity structure, with variable spatial resolution controlled by the electrode spacing. Fine scale sedimentary features and open fractures in saturated rocks are interpreted from the measurements with reference to established relationships between electrical resistivity and porosity. Our results successfully characterise grainfall lamination and sandflow cross-stratification in a brine saturated, dune bedded core sample representative of a southern North Sea reservoir sandstone, studied using the system in constant current, variable voltage mode. In contrast, in a low porosity marble, identification of open fracture porosity against a background very low matrix porosity is achieved using the constant voltage, variable current mode. This new system is limited by the diameter of the electrode that for practical reasons can only be reduced to between 0.5 and 0.75 mm. Improvements to this resolution may be achieved by further reducing the electrode footprint to 0.1 mm × 0.1 mm using a novel high-impedance, non-contact potential probe. Initial results with this non-contact electric potential sensor indicate the possibility for generating images with grain-scale resolution.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
ISSN: 09269851
Date made live: 23 Sep 2015 14:15 +0 (UTC)

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