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Seeing permeability from images: fast prediction with convolutional neural networks

J.-L. Wu, X.-L. Yin, H. Xiao

Science Bulletin 63 (18), 1215-1222

Fast prediction of permeability directly from images enabled by image recognition neural networks is a novel pore-scale modeling method that has a great potential. This article presents a framework that includes:

(1) generation of porous media samples, (2) computation of permeability via fluid dynamics simulations, (3) training of convolutional neural networks (CNN) with simulated data, and (4) validations against simulations.

Comparison of machine learning results and the ground truths suggests excellent predictive performance across a wide range of porosities and pore geometries, especially for those with dilated pores. Owning to such heterogeneity, the permeability cannot be estimated using the conventional Kozeny–Carman approach. Computational time was reduced by several orders of magnitude compared to fluid dynamic simulations.

We found that, by including physical parameters that are known to affect permeability into the neural network, the physics-informed CNN generated better results than regular CNN. However, improvements vary with implemented heterogeneity.
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