Geoscientific and engineering experiments in petrophysics, rock physics, and rock mechanics depend on multiple, costly, and sometimes rare samples used to characterize the properties of natural rocks. Testing these samples helps in modeling various hydrocarbon recovery and stimulation scenarios, as well as understanding the fluid-rock interactions in the subsurface under various pressure and temperature conditions. Over the last decade, 3D printing has matured to become a more commonly available tool to enable repeatable experiments with controllable materials and pore system geometries to investigate petrophysical, geomechanical, and geophysical properties of porous rocks. This review introduces the development, characteristics, and capabilities of 3D printing technology that are specifically used in research. Applications in the realm of petrophysics highlight the issues of replicating the pore network geometry and subsurface physics, aiming at understanding fluid flow in porous media problems. Using 3D-printed models in rock mechanics experiments focuses on generating comparable geomechanical properties and reproducing fractures, joint surfaces, and other rock structures, whereas in rock physics, geophysical forward modeling is highlighted to take advantage of 3D printing technology. By summarizing the recent advances in 3D printing as applied to petrophysics, rock physics, and rock mechanics, this review paper presents the current state of the art and the challenges in scale, cost, time, and materials, as well as the directions for advancing this frontier discipline to answer various fundamental questions regarding porous media research using 3D printing technology.

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