Particle Size and Oil Production

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
8 9 10 11 12
Organization:American Geosciences Institute (AGI); Earth Science Week (ESW)
Summary:What factors affect how easily a fluid can move through sediments? How is this flow rate connected to oil production? Many people think that oil lies in big pools below Earth's surface. Oil actually is located in the pores within rocks (called “source rocks”). When the pores are connected, oil can flow slowly through the rock. This happens when there is a difference in fluid pressure between one place in the rock and another. The flow of fluid through sediments due to this pressure difference is called the permeability of the material. In this investigation, you will explore the permeabilities of different materials. You will then use your observations to determine what affects permeability and how this might relate to oil production.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 7
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS3.A
NGSS Performance Expectations:HS-ESS3-2; MS-ESS3-1
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering); Engaging in argument from evidence
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Cause and effect: Mechanism and explanation
Subjects: earth science week; geology; hydraulic fracturing; mining; oil and gas
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