MOLECULAR DYNAMICS STUDY ON STRUCTURE-H HYDRATES Englezos, Peter; Ripmeester, John A.; Alavi, Saman; Susilo, Robin
The presence of structure H (sH) methane hydrate in natural environments, in addition to the well-known structure-I (sI) and II (sII) hydrates, has recently been documented. Methane in the presence of condensates (C5-C7) forms sH hydrate at lower pressure than the sI hydrate. Thus, the occurrence of sH methane hydrate is likely to have both beneficial and negative practical implications. On the negative side, in the presence of condensate, sH hydrate may form and plug gas transmission pipelines at lower pressures than sI hydrate. On the other hand, sH hydrate can be synthesized at lower pressures and exploited to store methane. The existence of natural hydrates containing sH hydrate may also be expected in shallow offshore areas. There are at least 26 large guest molecules known as sH hydrate formers and each of them produces a sH hydrates with different properties. The hydrate stability, the cage occupancies and the rates of hydrate formation depend on the type of large molecule selected. Consequently, it is essential to understand how the host and the guest molecules interact. Studies at the molecular-level are therefore indispensable in providing information that is not obtainable from experiments or too costly to acquire. Free energy calculations are performed to determine the relative stability among different sH hydrate systems and the preferable cage occupancy. The latter would give indications of how much methane gas can be stored in the hydrate. The interaction of guest molecule inside the hydrate cage is also investigated. The results are related to the physical and chemical properties of gas hydrates observed from the experiments or reported in the literature.
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