Study of Drainage and Percolation of Nitrogen–Water Flooding in Tight Coal by NMR Imaging

  • D. J. Xue
  • H. W. Zhou
  • Y. T. Liu
  • L. S. Deng
  • L. Zhang
Original Paper


N2 flooding in pores and water percolation in fissure is analyzed in-depth to investigate the permeability reduction caused by coalbed methane displacement in low-permeability coal seam in China. Using low-field nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), the transverse relaxation time spectrum (T2 spectrum) was carried out for tight intact and fractured coal. The T2 spectra were obtained for saturated samples containing adsorption pores (AP), percolation pores (PP), and migration pores (MP), as well as one-, two-, and three-dimensional spatial distributions of water content. The spatial distribution of the water in the displacement process of tight coal was finely characterized by low-field NMRI. Our results show that the water displacement by N2 in AP, PP, and MP requires a high to low pressure gradient and they play different functions of percolation. And the study revealed that there is no obvious gas–liquid interface during N2 flooding in tight coal. The results show that PP play an important role in water transfer and pressure transmission during the N2 flooding process, which assists in forming connected channels from nonpenetrative cracks. PP themselves can also form percolation channels and transmit pressure.


Low-field NMRI N2 flooding Percolation Water content Pressure transmission 

List of symbols

\( \sigma_{1} \),\( \sigma_{3} \)

Axial stress and confining pressure

\( \sigma_{\text{c}} \)

Peak strength under uniaxial compression

\( \varepsilon_{1} \)

Axial strain

\( E \), \( \mu \)

Elastic modulus and Poisson’s ratio

\( p_{1} \)

Nitrogen replacement pressure

\( T_{1} \)

Longitudinal relaxation (spin–lattice relaxation)

\( T_{2} \)

Transverse relaxation (spin–spin relaxation)

\( T_{{2{\text{b}}}} \)

Bulk relaxation

\( T_{{2{\text{s}}}} \)

Surface relaxation

\( T_{{2{\text{d}}}} \)

Diffuse relaxation

\( T_{\text{k}} \)

Thermodynamic temperature (K)

\( \eta \)

Liquid viscosity

\( \rho_{2} \)

Relaxation rate constant

\( \rho_{\text{d}} \), \( \rho_{\text{w}} \)

Dry density and wet density

\( S \)

Surface area of the pore

\( V \)

Fluid volume

\( F_{\text{s}} \)

Shape factors

\( G \)

Gradient of the filed strength

\( D \)

Diffusion coefficient

\( \gamma \)

Magnetogyric ratio

\( {\text{TE}} \)

Echo time

\( M\left( t \right) \)

Macroscopic magnetization

\( M_{i} \left( 0 \right) \)

Initial value of the ith magnetization vector of relaxation component

\( t \)


\( V_{\text{p}} \)

Longitudinal wave velocity before failure



The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the State Key Research Development Program of China (Grant No. 2016YFC0600704), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51504257, 51674266), the fund of Yueqi Outstanding scholars from China University of Mining and Technology (Beijing) and the Open fund of the State Key Laboratory of Coal Mine Disaster Dynamics and Control at Chongqing University (2011DA105287- FW201604). The excellent technical work of Mr. Y. W. Gao and Mr. Y. Yang is cordially acknowledged.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. J. Xue
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • H. W. Zhou
    • 1
  • Y. T. Liu
    • 1
  • L. S. Deng
    • 1
  • L. Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Mechanics and Civil EngineeringChina University of Mining and TechnologyBeijingChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Coal Mine Disaster Dynamics and ControlChongqing UniversityChongqingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Safety and High-efficiency Coal Mining, Ministry of EducationAnhui University of Science and TechnologyHuainanChina

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