New atomic force microscopy based analysis tools for investigation of multiphase flow and reactive transport in porous media

August 03, 2021

Bernard J. Geurts (1)
Geurts' Masters Thesis, August 2021.


Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has been used to study the dissolution effects of minerals in rocks. AFM complements Micro-computed tomography (Micro-CT), because it lacks resolution. The observations made about the situation happening in the rock are best reassembled by the combined Wenzel and Cassie & Baxter model. Through measurements it has been found that the surface roughness is increased with increasing dissolution time. Furthermore, the AFM is able to identify fluid films with the use of a contact mode experiment, in which the fluid films follow the structure of the surface. After the analysis of existing data sets, two different data processing workflows have been compared with each other and assessed. The best practice regarding image interpretation is done with the use of a point by point interpolation, because less assumption have been made with respect to the 3D analysis. With the use of the median filter, noise could be filter out, which could not be done with the 3D analysis. Furthermore, the point by point interpolation is able to deal with low force values and the 3D analysis is not. In addition, complete scripts (Python and MATLAB) have been delivered that convert measurement results data from the current AFM into useful data that can be analysed. This work introduces new analysis tools for nano-scale AFM investigation of multiphase flow and reactive transport in porous media. It is demonstrated that AFM is capable of investigating dissolution processes and multiphase flow at the nano-scale. Furthermore, it provides a clear workflow for processing AFM measurements. This provides opportunities for future studies in carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used for data processing and 3D visualization. Plus, Dragonfly was used for analysis using a point by point interpolation.

Author Affiliation

(1) Department of mechanical engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology.