Cockrell School of Engineering
The University of Texas at Austin


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Graduate Seminar - Dr. Catherine Peters


Monday, February 26, 2018


03:00pm - 04:00pm


CPE 2.204


Speaker:  Dr. Catherine Peters, Chair and Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University

Title of Seminar: “Permeability evolution in fractured carbonates exposed to reactive flow”

Abstract: For fractures in carbonate rocks, permeability can increase significantly when reactive flows cause mineral dissolution. Calcite is soluble, fast-reacting, and often sufficiently abundant that its dissolution leads to substantial changes in void volume. Using a range of approaches, including high-pressure flow cells for experimental investigation, imaging via X-ray spectroscopy and electron microscopy, and mathematical modeling for reactive transport simulations, we investigated reaction-induced permeability changes in fractured limestones exposed to high-pressure CO2-saturated brines. For experiments with a fractured core of pure calcite, positive feedback produced channelization, causing higher than expected permeability. For a fractured core of a heterogeneous carbonate, complex reaction patterns emerged. Modeling studies accounted for 2D reactive transport coupled with elastic deformation. This study demonstrates that mineral heterogeneity and spatial patterns of minerals are key to prediction of reaction-induced permeability evolution.

Biography:  Dr. Peters is the Chair and Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Princeton University, and she is the Director of the Geological Engineering Program. She is an environmental chemist with expertise in geochemistry and reactive transport. Her work focuses on the environmental challenges of subsurface energy technologies including geologic sequestration of carbon dioxide. Dr. Peters is the Deputy Editor of Environmental Engineering Science, and is on the Advisory Board for Greenhouse Gases: Science and Technology. She is a Fellow of the Association of Environmental Engineering and Science Professors, and was President of AEESP in 2002. She holds a PhD (1992) from Carnegie Mellon University in the departments of Civil Engineering and Engineering & Public Policy.