EGEL
Energy GeoEngineering Laboratory

Hydrate Formation and Growth in Pores

Hydrate Formation and Growth in Pores

​Jung, J.-W. and Santamarina, J. C. (2012). "Hydrate Formation and Growth in Pores." Journal of Crystal Growth, Vol. 345, No. 1, pp. 61-68.
​Jung, J.-W. and Santamarina, J. C.
Crystal morphology, Growth models, Nucleation
2012
Gas hydrates consist of guest gas molecules encaged in water cages.  Methane hydrate forms in marine and permafrost sediments.  In study, we use optical, mechanical and electrical measurements to monitor hydrate formation and growth in small pores to better understand the hydrate pore habit in hydrate-bearing sediments.  Hydrate formation in capillary tubes exposes the complex and dynamic interactions between nucleation, gas diffusion and gas solubility.  The observation of hydrate growth in droplet between transparent plates shows that the hydrate shell does not grow homogeneously but advances in the form of lobes that invade the water phase; in fact, they hydrate shell must be discontinuous and possibly cracked to justify the relatively fast growth rates observed in these experiments. Volume expansion during hydrate formation causes water to flow out of menisci; expelled water either spreads on the surface of water-wet substrates and forms a thin hydrate sheet, or remains next to menisci when substrates are oil-wet.  Hydrate formation is accompanied by ion exclusion, yet, there is an overall increase in electrical resistance during hydrate formation.  Hydrate growth may become salt-limited in trapped water conditions; in this case, aqueous brine and gas CH4 may be separated by hydrate and the three-phase system remains stable within the pore space of sediments.
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