A rock-based micromodel was designed using depth averaging with Boise rock digital images obtained from the X-ray micro-computed tomography. Design optimization of 2.5D micromodels was carried out using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations through error analysis of dynamic flow parameters (velocities and permeability), which showed the close dynamic flow match between the actual 3D rock and the optimized 2.5D micromodel. Multiple numbers of polymer micromodels were microfabricated via micromilling of a brass mold insert and hot embossing in polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA). The design optimization and the replication-based microfabrication processes enabled the realistic pore geometry generation, which conforms to the pore dimensions of an actual rock sample but with coarser features in a polymer microfluidic platform. The microfabricated PMMA micromodel was used for fluidic characterization with nanoparticles to compare the flow patterns between the designed micromodel and the microfabricated micromodel. Particle motion paths observed in the particle experiments showed the consistent similarity of stream-traces from the CFD simulations of the designed 2.5D micromodel. Further fluidic investigation on the 2.5D rock-based micromodels will provide better understanding on fluid transport mechanism in porous media.

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