Campus Units

Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Rapid Prototyping Journal




Purpose. The objective of this study was to evaluate how accurately a 3D printer could manufacture basic porous models. Geoscience research is evolving toward numerical prediction of porous rock properties, but laboratory tests are still considered standard practice. 3D printing digital designs of porous models (proxies) is a way to bridge the gap between these two realms of inquiry.

Design/methodology/approach. Digital designs of simple porous models were 3D-printed on an inkjet-style (polyjet) 3D printer. Porosity and pore-throat size distribution of proxies were measured with helium porosimetry, mercury porosimetry, and computed tomography image analysis. Laboratory results on proxies were compared with properties calculated on digital designs and CT images.

Findings. Bulk volume of proxies was by 0.6-6.7% lower than digital designs. 3D-printed porosity increased to 0.2-1.9% compared to digital designs (0-1.3%). 3D-printed pore throats were thinner than designed by 10-31%.

Research limitations/implications. Incomplete removal of support material from pores yielded inaccurate property measurements. The external envelope of proxies was 3D-printed at higher accuracy than pores.

Practical implications. Characterization of these simple models improves understanding of: 1) how more complex rock models can be 3D-printed accurately; and 2) how both destructive (mercury porosimetry) and non-destructive (computed tomography and helium porosimetry) methods can be used to characterize porous models.

Originality/value. Validation of 3D-printed porous models using a suite of destructive and non-destructive methods is novel.


This is a manuscript of the article Franciszek Hasiuk, Sergey Ishutov, Artur Pacyga, "Validating 3D-printed porous proxies by tomography and porosimetry," Rapid Prototyping Journal, 2018. DOI: 10.1108/RPJ-06-2017-0121. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Emerald Publishing Limited



File Format


Published Version