DIRECT OBSERVATION OF CHARACTERISTIC DISSOCIATION BEHABIORS OF HYDRATE-BEARING CORES BY RAPID-SCANNING X-RAY CT IMAGING Ebinuma, Takao; Oyama, Hiroyuki; Utiumi, Takashi; Nagao, Jiro; Narita, Hideo
Experiments involving the dissociation of artificial methane-hydrate-bearing sediments were performed using X-ray computed tomography (X-CT, 40 s scanning speed at 2 min intervals) to directly observe dissociation behavior in the sediments and the gas and water flows generated by dissociation. Dissociation by depressurization was performed using a backpressure regulator, and showed that the temperature reduction induced by depressurization depends on the phase equilibrium state of methane hydrate, and that preferential dissociation occurs along the periphery of the core. This behavior is caused by heat flux from the outside of the core, and this controls the dissociation rate. A heat exchanger was installed at one end of the core to simulate thermal stimulation, and propagation of a clear and unidirectional dissociation front was observed. Depending on the heating temperature, the dissociation rate was less than that observed for depressurization. Hot water was also injected at a constant rate from the bottom of the core, and CT images showed the movement of distinct accumulations of dissociated gas being pushed by the hot water. The gas production rate increased immediately after the gas accumulation reached the opposite end of the core where the gas and water flow out.
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