Digital Rock Physics of Heterogeneous Porous Media

Digital Rock physics research at UNSW explores high-resolution imaging of heterogeneous porous media and combines it with pore-scale rock-typing, physical property calculations and experiments. Our collaborative approach to research means we combine our instrument capacity with our people skills to provide unparalleled insights into microstructural behaviour. 

Our Competitive Advantage 

  • Morphological, topological & spatial analysis of porous materials 
  • Massively parallel physical property calculations (electrical conductivity, elastic properties, fluid flow, NMR responses) for complex porous micro-structure 
  • Embedded classification structures for upscaling of physical properties 
  • Integration of experiment and simulation  

Recent Research Projects 

  • Two active ARC DP projects: wettability alteration and colloid transport 
  • Two active ARC LP projects: low salinity water flooding/cement hydration  

Successful Applications 

  • Commercialized through spin-off company Digital Core Pty, which merged with Numerical Rocks AS to form Lithicon, acquired in 2014 by FEI for A$76 million (now part of ThermoFisher). 
  • Morphy installation at several Fortune Top-500 companies 
  • 2012 Australian Museum Rio Tinto Eureka Prize 
  • 2014 UNSW “Inventor of the year award” to C. Arns & V. Pinczewski 
  • 2015 Premier's Prizes for Science & Engineering: “Leadership in Innovation in NSW” 
  • 2017 Distinguished Technical Achievement Award (SPWLA) 

Our Partners 

  • ANU 
  • BP 
  • OMV 
  • Petrobras 
  • Total 
  • Wintershall  

Facilities & Infrastructure 

  • Tyree X-ray micro-CT facility 
  • NMR high-pressure high-temperature low field laboratory 
  • “Morphy”: MPI parallel Morphology & (petro-)physical software suite 
  • Significant National Computing Infrastructure (NCI) grants for massively parallel computing 

Our People