School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences

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  • Christopher Zahasky

    Christopher Zahasky

    Ph.D. Student in Energy Resources Engineering

    Current Research and Scholarly InterestsReservoir engineering has long benefited from methods and technology developed in other fields of science and medicine. The proliferation of X-ray Computed Tomography, developed for medical imaging, led to incredible advancements in our understanding of single and multiphase flow in natural rocks. Positron Emission Tomography (PET), another medical imaging technique, has the potential to further advance our understanding of pore-scale flow processes. The goal of my work is to apply PET imaging techniques to better understand specific processes such as relative permeability in natural fractures and capillary heterogeneity in reservoir rocks. Initial experiments indicate that quantitative data analysis of PET imaging can be used to measure fracture aperture in naturally fractured caprock materials and can be used to measure time-dependent matrix diffusion of injected tracer. Future work will focus on method development and experimental measurements of multiphase flow in naturally fractures. Building on this work, PET will then be applied to imaging wetting and nonwetting phase flow behavior in multiphase flow experiments in reservoir rocks. Understanding the physics of these systems is vital for improving the confidence in the long term storage security of geologically stored carbon dioxide.