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Gas hydrate growth and dissociation in narrow pore networks: capillary inhibition and hysteresis phenomena

Anderson, Ross A., Tohidi, Bahman, Webber, J. Beau W. (2009) Gas hydrate growth and dissociation in narrow pore networks: capillary inhibition and hysteresis phenomena. Sediment-Hosted Gas Hydrates: New Insights on Natural and Synthetic Systems., 319 . pp. 145-159. (doi:10.1144/SP319.12) (KAR id:23118)

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Marine sediments hosting gas hydrates are commonly fine-grained (silts, muds, clays)

with very narrow mean pore diameters (0.1 mm). This has led to speculation that capillary

phenomena could play an important role in controlling hydrate distribution in the seafloor, and

may be in part responsible for discrepancies between observed and predicted (from bulk phase

equilibria) hydrate stability zone (HSZ) thicknesses. Numerous recent laboratory studies have confirmed

a close relationship between hydrate inhibition and pore size, stability being reduced in

narrow pores; however, to date the focus has been hydrate dissociation conditions in porous

media, with capillary controls on the equally important process of hydrate growth being largely

neglected. Here, we present experimental methane hydrate growth and dissociation conditions

for synthetic mesoporous silicas over a range of pressure–temperature (PT) conditions (273–

293 K, to 20 MPa) and pore size distributions. Results demonstrate that hydrate formation and

decomposition in narrow pore networks is characterized by a distinct hysteresis: solid growth

occurs at significantly lower temperatures (or higher pressures) than dissociation. Hysteresis

takes the form of repeatable, irreversible closed primary growth and dissociation PT loops,

within which various characteristic secondary ‘scanning’ curve pathways may be followed.

Similar behaviour has recently been observed for ice–water systems in porous media, and is

characteristic of liquid–vapour transitions in mesoporous materials. The causes of such hysteresis

are still not fully understood; our results suggest pore blocking during hydrate growth as a

primary cause.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1144/SP319.12
Projects: Capillary controls on gas hydrate growth and dissociation in synthetic and natural porous media: PVT, NMR, Neutron Diffraction and SANS
Subjects: Q Science > QC Physics > QC807 Geophysics (for Applied Geophysics see TN269)
Q Science > QE Geology
Q Science > QC Physics > QC176.8.N35 Nanoscience, nanotechnology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Funders: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (
Depositing User: J.B.W. Webber
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2009 15:22 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 23:09 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Webber, J. Beau W..

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