Statistical scaling of geometric characteristics in stochastically generated pore microstructures

Jeffrey D. Hyman, Alberto Guadagnini, C. Larrabee Winter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We analyze the statistical scaling of structural attributes of virtual porous microstructures that are stochastically generated by thresholding Gaussian random fields. Characterization of the extent at which randomly generated pore spaces can be considered as representative of a particular rock sample depends on the metrics employed to compare the virtual sample against its physical counterpart. Typically, comparisons against features and/patterns of geometric observables, e.g., porosity and specific surface area, flow-related macroscopic parameters, e.g., permeability, or autocorrelation functions are used to assess the representativeness of a virtual sample, and thereby the quality of the generation method. Here, we rely on manifestations of statistical scaling of geometric observables which were recently observed in real millimeter scale rock samples [13] as additional relevant metrics by which to characterize a virtual sample. We explore the statistical scaling of two geometric observables, namely porosity (ϕ) and specific surface area (SSA), of porous microstructures generated using the method of Smolarkiewicz and Winter [42] and Hyman and Winter [22]. Our results suggest that the method can produce virtual pore space samples displaying the symptoms of statistical scaling observed in real rock samples. Order q sample structure functions (statistical moments of absolute increments) of ϕ and SSA scale as a power of the separation distance (lag) over a range of lags, and extended self-similarity (linear relationship between log structure functions of successive orders) appears to be an intrinsic property of the generated media. The width of the range of lags where power-law scaling is observed and the Hurst coefficient associated with the variables we consider can be controlled by the generation parameters of the method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-854
Number of pages10
JournalComputational Geosciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 22 2015


  • Extended self-similarity
  • Microstructure
  • Pore scale characterization
  • Porosity
  • Porous media
  • Scaling
  • Stochastic methods
  • Structure functions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computers in Earth Sciences
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Computational Mathematics


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