Petrophysics Journal Special Issue Proposal

Applications of 3D Printing and Synthetic Rocks in Petrophysics, Rock Physics, and Rock Mechanics


3D printing, or additive manufacturing, technology has been creating new opportunities in various academic and industrial fields by leveraging its advantages in cost-efficiency, controllability, repeatability, and the manufacturing ability for complex geometries. Geoscientific experiments in petrophysics, rock physics, and rock mechanics involve numerous subsurface rock specimens for measuring rock properties and testing various mechanisms at different research scenarios. However, experimental work on natural rocks is constrained by destructive and nonrepeatable analyses. 3D printing technology provides an innovative approach to enable repeatable experiments with controllable specimen materials and geometries. Many attempts have been made to utilize the advantages of 3D printing and further investigation of the petrophysical, transport, and geomechanical properties of rocks at the core scale (cm) and pore scale (µm/nm) of measurements.

Some significant frontiers still exist in building synthetic rocks to unlock their full potential as rock analogs. Firstly, materials used in 3D printing need to behave closer to rock in terms of electrical, elastic, flow and surface properties (e.g., wettability). Secondly, the accuracy of manufacturing pore/fracture networks at micro/nano scales needs to be improved to reach the “natural” scale. Thirdly, benchmark synthetic rocks (e.g., 3D-printed “Berea” or “Fontainebleu”) for different lithologies have not been determined and integrated with standard operation procedures of routine core analysis.

The proposed special issue of Petrophysics will focus on advances in 3D printing synthetic rocks and the latest experimental applications in the areas of petrophysics, rock physics, and rock mechanics. We are seeking submissions on related topics including but not limited to the following areas:

  • Testing geometric accuracy of 3D printing methods and materials
  • Testing properties of 3D printing materials
  • Microfluidic devices
  • 3D-printed porous medium applicable to digital rock physics
  • Experimental validation of petrophysics theories
  • Experiments measuring elastic properties and geomechanical properties
  • Other synthetic rock fabrication methods and applications in geoscience and petroleum engineering

The editors of Petrophysics invite paper submissions on the topic of Applications of 3D Printing and Synthetic Rocks in Petrophysics, Rock Physics, and Rock Mechanics for publication in the August 2021 special issue. Authors who are interested in contributing should first submit a 300-word abstract for editors’ review and approval before January 1, 2021. The full manuscript should be submitted no later than March 31, 2021 to In addition, the special issue editors would like to receive a provisional title and list of authors as soon as possible. The submitted papers will be subjected to the regular peer-review process, and the contributing authors are also expected to participate in the peer-review process. Expanded abstracts presented at conferences are also welcome as long as they are not under peer review in another journal.

The submissions will be processed according to the following timeline:

Abstract submission deadline:                     January 1, 2021

Full manuscript submission deadline:         March 31, 2021 (extension upon request)

Publication of issue:                                       August 2021

Special-issue editors

Lingyun Kong, PhD,, Research Scientist, Energy & Environmental Research Center, University of North Dakota

Sergey Ishutov, PhD,, Research Fellow, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Alberta

Franek Hasiuk, PhD,, Associate Scientist, Kansas Geological Survey, University of Kansas

Chicheng Xu, PhD,, Research Petrophysicist, Aramco Americas