PhD Project in Charaterisation and Modelling of Fluid Flow in Porous Media using Computed Tomography

The section for Image Analysis and Computer Graphics at DTU’s Department for Applied Mathematics and Computer Science (“DTU Compute”) would like to invite applications for a 3-year PhD position starting in the Spring of 2019. The position is part of an ambitious project in collaboration with two other PhD students and the Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Center (DHRTC), which is aimed at developing new computed tomography (CT) -based methods for investigating fluid flow properties of porous materials.

DTU Compute is an internationally unique academic environment spanning the science disciplines mathematics, statistics and computer science. At the same time, we are an engineering department covering informatics and communication technologies (ICT) in their broadest sense. Finally, we play a major role in addressing the societal challenges of the digital society where ICT is a part of every industry, service, and human endeavour.

DTU Compute strives to achieve research excellence in its basic science disciplines, to achieve technological leadership in research and innovation, and to address societal challenges in collaboration with partners at DTU and other academic institutions, nationally and internationally, and, equally important, with industry and organizations. We communicate and collaborate with leading centres and strategic partners in order to increase participation in major consortia.

DTU Compute plays a central role in education at all levels of the engineering programmes at DTU – both in terms of our scientific disciplines and our didactic innovation.

Project Description
Fluid flow in porous media is of prime interest to the oil and gas sector, as well as in water management and civil engineering. Currently, experiments at DHRTC are conducted by injecting a liquid into a geological core plug sample while monitoring the pressure drop and the composition of the effluent. To get a better understanding of the actual processes happening in the porous media, we want to place the sample in a CT-scanner, and observe dynamic flow phenomena in core plugs while they are happening. This will provide visualization of the processes in 4D (space and time).

In the past, this has been done using medical CT-scanners that allow for fast image acquisition. Their spatial resolution, however, does not allow a spatially detailed characterization of the flow process. We want to use micro-CT scanners to yield higher spatial resolution, but current technology generally result in loss of temporal resolution. Therefore, the PhD student, which the successful candidate will work closely with in this project (already started), is investigating various techniques to allow for faster data acquisition using in-house laboratory CT placed at DHRTC.

Using the dynamic 3D information from the flooding experiments, the aim is then to determine both the properties of the porous media such as porosity, permeability, tortuosity and diffusion, their correlation and the how mechanical loading of the core plug will impact these parameters. With detailed time series of 3D volumes, the task is of the PhD student is to model and estimate various core plug properties. For model carbonates this information can be coupled with direct determination of the dynamic contact angles of various liquid in order to estimate the wetting properties at the pore scale in 3D.

To retrieve an understanding of the processes, fluid dynamic simulations that incorporate information from the experimental observations must be implemented and validated. Geomechanical alteration of the porous media due to external mechanical load is also of interest as these can change the fluid flow properties of the media – especially responses like opening and closing of micro fractures upon mechanical load and how they affect the fluid flow properties of the sample will be studied. The link between image analysis – how we extract information from the scannings – and the fluid dynamic simulations are crucial to the project.

The results will have direct impact on several other DHRTC projects and can potentially have major importance for the exploration of hydrocarbons in the Danish North Sea.

The selected candidate will be able to take advantage of the unique set-up at DTU with a growing imaging center (
www.imaging.dtu.dk/) with additional CT-scanners, a recently established center: ‘QIM: center for quantitative image analysis for MAX IV’, and strong groups in reconstruction, inverse problems, and image analysis at DTU Compute.

Requirements
Candidates must have a master degree in applied mathematics, physics, computer science, electrical engineering, or a similar degree with an equivalent academic level. A genuine interest in fluid dynamics, tomographic imaging, image analysis, and mathematical modeling is a must, as is the ability to program in C++, Matlab or Python and (or the willingness to learn) to perform experimental work. Prior experience with CT imaging is not required. Ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment is essential, as is a good command of the English language.

Approval and Enrolment
The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in the DTU Compute PhD School Programme. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.

Assessment
The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor MSO Anders Bjorholm Dahl and Assistant Professor Anders Nymark Christensen.

We offer
DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Furthermore, the project offers a number of unique possibilities, including:  
 

  • Collaboration with other PhD’s on the same project
  • Access to state of the art equipment, a large knowledge base on campus, and direct contact with industry
  • Special emphasis on career development through transferable skills training including entrepreneurship, innovation, IPR, industry work, scientific writing, etc.
Salary and appointment terms
The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further Information
Further information concerning the project can be obtained from Assistant Professor Anders Nymark Christensen, anym@dtu.dk.

Further information concerning the application is available at the DTU Compute 
PhD homepage.

Application
Please submit your online application no later than 10 March 2019 (local time)To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form. The following must be attached in English: 

  • A letter motivating the application (cover letter)
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Grade transcripts and BSc/MSc diploma
  • Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here
Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master’s degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Compute has a total staff of 400 including 100 faculty members and 130 Ph.D. students. We offer introductory courses in mathematics, statistics, and computer science to all engineering programmes at DTU and specialised courses to the mathematics, computer science, and other programmes. We offer continuing education courses and scientific advice within our research disciplines, and provide a portfolio of innovation activities for students and employees.

The overarching purpose of The Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre is to identify new technological and conceptual solutions that will enable increased oil and gas extraction in the Danish section of the North Sea. The research activities at the centre cover selected aspects of expertise: Reservoir characterization, Enhanced Oil & Gas Recovery Processes, Drilling & Production Technology Concepts and Production Facilities, Materials Research & Design. The centre will develop deep, new understanding within these disciplines with a line-of-sight to application. Located at The Technical University of Denmark research groups at the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, Aalborg University and the Geological Survey of Greenland and Denmark will be affiliated with the Centre. When fully operational, the centre will employ and engage more than 100 people.

DTU is a technical university providing internationally leading research, education, innovation and scientific advice. Our staff of 6,000 advance science and technology to create innovative solutions that meet the demands of society, and our 11,200 students are being educated to address the technological challenges of the future. DTU is an independent academic university collaborating globally with business, industry, government and public agencies.

Deadline: 10 March 2019
Unit: DTU Compute
Read the job description and apply online

Post expires on Sunday March 10th, 2019