Liquid nitrogen fracturing efficiency as a function of coal rank: A multi-scale tomographic study

Hamed Akhondzadeh, Alireza Keshavarz, Faisal Ur Rahman Awan, Muhammad Ali, Ahmed Al-Yaseri, Changfu Liu, Yongfei Yang, Stefan Iglauer, Boris Gurevich, Maxim Lebedev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


This study explored the potential of liquid nitrogen fracturing in three different coal ranks. X-ray computed tomography results in micro- (μ-CT) and macro (medical-CT) scales revealed a poor performance of LN2 fracturing in anthracite. In contrast, porosity evolution for bituminous and sub-bituminous coal in microscale was 14 % and 119 %, respectively. The porosity enhancement in macroscale for these coals was also significant. Interestingly, in both coals, thoroughgoing fracture planes originated from the initial cleat network following freezing. Furthermore, connectivity analysis through skeletonization and Euler number analysis suggested that sub-bituminous connectivity increased by 20-fold for small pores (
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104177
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering
StatePublished - Jul 31 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-08-27
Acknowledgements: The μ-CT measurements were performed using the μ-CT system of National Geo-sequestration Laboratory (NGL) of Australia; funding for this facility was provided by the Australian Federal Government. This work was supported by Pawsey Supercomputing Centre, with funding from the Australian Government and the Government of Western Australia. Moreover, the authors are grateful to Premier Coal Ltd. for providing the sub-bituminous coal samples. The coal petrographical, proximate and ultimate analysis was also performed by Bureau Veritas - Minerals Pty Ltd, Australia. The authors acknowledge the support of the Australian Research Council through project DP190103260. Additionally, the authors thank the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51674280), and Shandong Provincial Natural Science Foundation (ZR2019JQ21).

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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