Methods and systems for estimating conductivity of clay mineral systems, and for applying the estimates in larger-scale analysis. Conductivity of the clay may be estimated by constructing a molecular model of an anhydrous charge-neutral clay, and then assigning a charge density by substitution of ions in the model of the clay structure. Counterions are inserted for charge neutrality, and water molecules are added to the model to reflect a selected level of hydration. Following assignment of force-field coefficients, molecular dynamics simulation provides data from which diffusion coefficients can be estimated. Application of the Nernst-Einstein relationship to the diffusion coefficients of the counterions provides the ion conductivity of the clay system. This conductivity can be used to derive a formation factor, and can be applied in direct numerical simulation analysis.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
 The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. DE-AC04-94AL85000 between the United States Department of Energy and Sandia Corporation, for operation of the Sandia National Laboratories.