Natural Resources Research

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 1575–1586 | Cite as

Experimental Study of Adsorption Effects on Shale Permeability

  • Yu Zhao
  • Chaolin WangEmail author
  • Yongfa Zhang
  • Qiang Liu
Original Paper


CH4 adsorption plays an important role in the permeability evolution of unconventional gas reservoirs. In this paper, an experimental method for simultaneous measurement of rock adsorption and permeability has been developed. For this experimental method, the CH4 adsorption amounts were obtained using a volumetric method. The permeability was measured by considering gas diffusion from the reference chamber to the core sample, under the pressure difference. A set of adsorption-permeability experiments were conducted on shale samples from lower Silurian Longmaxi Formation in the Sichuan Basin. The experimental results show that both the adsorption and swelling behavior of shale can be well described by the Langmuir equation. The effects of adsorption on permeability are influenced by two factors: (1) adsorption-induced storage, which causes an incremental in apparent porosity, leading to a significant error in permeability measurement if true porosity is used; and (2) adsorption-induced swelling, which potentially closes the existing natural fractures and reduces the intrinsic permeability. The adsorption storage effects are more significant at low pressure and are influenced by the experimental configurations (ratio of chamber volume to pore volume). With the increase in adsorption-induced swelling strain, the permeability declines by a cubic function during the adsorption process. Since swelling strain is linearly proportional to the amount of CH4 adsorbed, the behaviors of permeability and the amount of adsorbing gas follow similar trends.


Reservoir rock Permeability Adsorption Swelling 



This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 51374257 and 50804060). It was also supported by the China Scholarship Council (CSC) for the second author’s visit at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.


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Copyright information

© International Association for Mathematical Geosciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu Zhao
    • 1
  • Chaolin Wang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yongfa Zhang
    • 2
  • Qiang Liu
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringGuizhou UniversityGuiyangChina
  2. 2.School of Civil EngineeringChongqing UniversityChongqingChina

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