Since the 1990s, X-ray computed tomography (CT) has become increasingly popular for its ability to yield big insights from tiny rock samples. But the volume of data produced from CT scanners is anything but tiny, and that makes sharing and storing the files a challenge.
In an effort to address this issue and foster collaboration in an area where there is currently very little, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin (UT) created a new web-based application called Digital Rocks Portal. In exchange for making their CT images of rocks available to outside researchers, the website will offer exploration companies free and unlimited data storage.
Maša Prodanović, the director of the Digital Rocks Portal and an assistant professor at UT’s petroleum and geosystems engineering department, said this arrangement will improve the industry’s understanding of rock microstructures and the accuracy of microscopic hydrocarbon flow models—valuable information that can be extrapolated to the reservoir scale.