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Grain Detachment and Transport Clogging During Mineral Dissolution in Carbonate Rocks with Permeable Grain Boundaries...

by Min Liu, Vitalii Starchenko, Andrew G Stack, Lawrence M Anovitz
Publication Type
Journal Name
Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Publication Date
Page Numbers
202 to 220

This paper explores the effect of permeable grain boundaries on carbonate rock dissolution in order to improve our understanding of grain detachment and migration during reactive flow. To do so we investigated the effects of grain size and enhanced reactivity along grain boundaries on global dissolution kinetics. Variations of permeability and porosity were calculated, and exponential relationships were observed in fractured rocks. Our model employed a reactive transport framework based on the Darcy-Brinkman equation to simulate calcite dissolution in carbonate rocks composed of microporous grains and, included fluid transport along grain boundaries. The model includes fluid flow, solute transport by advection-diffusion, heterogeneous reaction between fluid and minerals and grain detachment with subsequent grain transport in macropores. The migration of solid particles due to dissolution was based on cluster analysis and local movement, and the results show that grain detachment can lead to significant decreases in permeability due to the clogging of transport pathways. Microporous media with smaller grain sizes (fine grains in this study) showed a higher average reaction rate than those with coarser grains. In addition, as the overall rates of geochemical processes are commonly affected by the presence of texture heterogeneities such as fractures, a single fracture (macropore) introduced into a microporous matrix composed of permeable grains and grain boundaries was modelled as a large channel connecting the inlet and outlet of the simulation domain. It was found that macropore clogging by grain detachment temporary decreased permeability, lowering the long-term global reaction rates. We also observed that increases in flow rate can reduce detachment and fracture clogging by reducing local dissolution along grain boundaries.