Electromagnetic Properties of Geomaterials

  • Farizal Hakiki

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The advancement of both electronics and instrumentation technology has fostered the development of multi-physics platforms that can probe the earth’s subsurface. Remote, non-destructive testing techniques have led to the increased deployment of electromagnetic waves in sensor technology. Electromagnetic wave techniques are reliable and have the capacity to sense materials and associated properties with minimal perturbation. However, meticulous data analyses and mathematical derivations reveal inconsistencies in some formulations. Thus, revisiting the fundamental physics that underlies both electrical impedance experimental setups and electromagnetic properties are paramount. This study aims to unravel inherent limitations in the understanding of the relationships between electromagnetic and non-electromagnetic properties that are relevant to the characterization of fluids in porous media. These correlations pervade porosity, permeability, specific surface, pore size distribution, tortuosity, fluid discrimination, diffusion coefficient, degree of saturation, viscosity, temperature, phase transformation, miscibility, salinity, and the presence of impurities. The focus is on the assessment of liquids, soils, rocks, and colloids using broad spectral frequency complex permittivity, conductivity, magnetic permeability, and nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry. Broadband electrical properties measurement for saturated porous media can provide multiple physical phenomena: Ohmic conduction, electrode polarizations, Maxwell-Wagner spatial polarizations, rotational, and segmental polarizations. Liquids dominate the electromagnetic signatures in porous media as dry minerals are inherently non-polar and non-conductive. Results reveal that voltage drops due to the discontinuity of charge-carrier at the electrode-electrolyte interface named electrode polarization inherently affect the low-frequency electrical measurements both in two- and four-probe configurations. Rotational polarizations that occur in MHz-GHz ranges are defined by the electrical dipole moment and effective molecular volume. Both viscosity and effective molecular volume govern the NMR transverse relaxation time. An engineered soil suspension with ferromagnetic inclusions exhibits excellent characteristics for drilling fluid application. Overall, the study highlights the complementary nature of conductivity, permittivity, and NMR relaxation for the advanced characterization of fluid saturated geomaterials.
Date of AwardNov 2020
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorJ. Carlos Santamarina (Supervisor)


  • Permittivity
  • NMR Relaxation
  • Magnetic Permeability
  • Dual porosity
  • Poloarization
  • Dielectric

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