Digital rock physics benchmarks. Pt.I: Imaging and segmentation
The key paradigm of digital rock physics (DRP) "image and compute" implies imaging and digitizing the pore space and mineral matrix of natural rock and then numerically simulating various physical processes in this digital object to obtain such macroscopic rock properties as permeability, electrical conductivity, and elastic moduli. The steps of this process include image acquisition, image processing (noise reduction, smoothing, and segmentation); setting up the numerical experiment (object size and resolution as well as the boundary conditions); and numerically solving the field equations. Finally, we need to interpret the solution thus obtained in terms of the desired macroscopic properties. For each of these DRP steps, there is more than one method and implementation. Our goal is to explore and record the variability of the computed effective properties as a function of using different tools and workflows. Such benchmarking is the topic of the two present companion papers. Here, in the first part, we introduce four 3D microstructures, a segmented Fontainebleau sandstone sample (porosity 0.147), a gray-scale Berea sample; a gray-scale Grosmont carbonate sample; and a numerically constructed pack of solid spheres (porosity 0.343). Segmentation of the gray-scale images by three independent teams reveals the uncertainty of this process: the segmented porosity range is between 0.184 and 0.209 for Berea and between 0.195 and 0.271 for the carbonate. The implications of the uncertainty associated with image segmentation are explored in a second paper.