Permeability of shale by the beam-bending method

Jie Zhang, George W. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


The beam-bending method permits measurement of liquid permeability in the nanoDarcy range in a few minutes to a few hours. This technique has been applied successfully to determine the permeability, as well as the viscoelastic properties, of isotropic materials with low permeability, such as gels, porous glass, and cement paste. The method has been extended to measure transversely anisotropic materials, such as sedimentary rock, to find the permeability parallel and perpendicular to the bedding. In this study, measurements have been made on a set of shales from varying depths and locations in the continental United States. The measured permeabilities range 0.009-400 nanoDarcies (nD=10-21m2). The permeability in the direction parallel to the bedding orientation was larger than that perpendicular to the bedding orientation, by a factor ranging from 1.2 to 6. This is the first instance of using the beam-bending method to measure the permeabilities of shale in different orientations. The measured permeabilities were compared to the Kozeny-Carman and Katz-Thompson models. The pore geometry parameters used in the models, such as the pore size distribution, characteristic pore diameters, porosity, and tortuosity were measured using mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP), gravimetry, and electrical conductivity, respectively. The measured permeability values match better with the predictions from the Katz-Thompson equation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-191
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


  • Katz-Thompson equation
  • Kozeny-Carman equation
  • MIP
  • Permeability
  • Shale


Dive into the research topics of 'Permeability of shale by the beam-bending method'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this