Explaining the large variability in empirical relationships between magnetic pore fabrics and pore space properties

Biedermann, Andrea R.; Pugnetti, Michele; Zhou, Yi (2021). Explaining the large variability in empirical relationships between magnetic pore fabrics and pore space properties. Geophysical journal international, 227(1), pp. 496-517. Oxford University Press 10.1093/gji/ggab230

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The magnetic anisotropy exhibited by ferrofluid-impregnated samples serves as a proxy for their pore fabrics, and is therefore known as magnetic pore fabric. Empirically, the orientation of the maximum susceptibility indicates the average pore elongation direction, and predicts the preferred flow direction. Further, correlations exist between the degree and shape of magnetic anisotropy and the pores’ axial ratio and shape, and between the degrees of magnetic and permeability anisotropies. Despite its potential, the method has been rarely used, likely because the large variability in reported empirical relationships compromises interpretation. Recent work identified an additional contribution of distribution anisotropy, related to the arrangement of the pores, and a strong dependence of anisotropy parameters on the ferrofluid type and concentration, partly explaining the variability. Here, an additional effect is shown; the effective susceptibility of the ferrofluid depends on the measurement frequency, so that the resulting anisotropy depends on measurement conditions. Using synthetic samples with known void geometry and ferrofluids with known susceptibility (4.04 SI and 1.38 SI for EMG705 and EMG909, respectively), magnetic measurements at frequencies from 500 Hz to 512 kHz are compared to numerical predictions. Measurements show a strong frequency-dependence, especially for EMG705, leading to large discrepancies between measured and calculated anisotropy degrees. We also observe artefacts related to the interaction of ferrofluid with its seal, and the aggregation of particles over time. The results presented here provide the basis for a robust and quantitative interpretation of magnetic pore fabrics in future studies, and allow for re-interpretation of previous results provided that the ferrofluid properties and measurement conditions are known. We recommend that experimental settings are selected to ensure a high intrinsic susceptibility of the fluid, and that the effective susceptibility of the fluid at measurement conditions is reported in future studies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Biedermann, Andrea Regina; Pugnetti, Michele and Zhou, Yi


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology




Oxford University Press




Andrea Regina Biedermann

Date Deposited:

21 Jun 2021 15:36

Last Modified:

10 Jul 2021 01:33

Publisher DOI:






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