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Quality Evaluation of Epoxy Pore Casts Using Silicon Micromodels: Application to Confocal Imaging of Carbonate Samples

The Ali I. Al-Naimi Petroleum Engineering Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia
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Academic Editor: Kambiz Vafai
Appl. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 5557; https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125557
Received: 13 May 2021 / Revised: 4 June 2021 / Accepted: 8 June 2021 / Published: 16 June 2021
Pore casting refers to filling the void spaces of porous materials with an extraneous fluid, usually epoxy resin, to obtain a high-strength composite material, stabilize a fragile porous structure, produce a three-dimensional replica of the pore space, or provide imaging contrast. Epoxy pore casting may be accompanied by additional procedures, such as etching, in which the material matrix is dissolved, leaving a clean cast. Moreover, an epoxy resin may be mixed with fluorophore substances to allow fluorescence imaging. Our work aims to investigate and optimize the epoxy pore casting procedure parameters, for example, impregnation pressure. We use silicon micromodels as a reference to validate the key parameters of high-pressure resin impregnation. We demonstrate possible artifacts and defects that might develop during impregnation with resin, e.g., resin shrinkage and gas trapping. In the end, we developed an optimized protocol to produce high-quality resin pore casts for high-resolution 3D imaging and the description of microporosity in micritic carbonates. In our applications, the high-quality pore casts were acid-etched to remove the non-transparent carbonate material, making the pore casts suitable for imaging with Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (CLSM). In addition, we evaluate the quality of our etching procedure using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) scans of the pre- and post-etched samples and demonstrate that the etched epoxy pore casts represent the pore space of microporous carbonate rock samples with high fidelity. View Full-Text
Keywords: pressure impregnation; confocal imaging; pore space imaging; microporous carbonate pressure impregnation; confocal imaging; pore space imaging; microporous carbonate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hassan, A.; Yutkin, M.; Chandra, V.; Patzek, T. Quality Evaluation of Epoxy Pore Casts Using Silicon Micromodels: Application to Confocal Imaging of Carbonate Samples. Appl. Sci. 2021, 11, 5557. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125557

AMA Style

Hassan A, Yutkin M, Chandra V, Patzek T. Quality Evaluation of Epoxy Pore Casts Using Silicon Micromodels: Application to Confocal Imaging of Carbonate Samples. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(12):5557. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125557

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hassan, Ahmed, Maxim Yutkin, Viswasanthi Chandra, and Tadeusz Patzek. 2021. "Quality Evaluation of Epoxy Pore Casts Using Silicon Micromodels: Application to Confocal Imaging of Carbonate Samples" Applied Sciences 11, no. 12: 5557. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11125557

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