SIMULATION OF HYDRATE AGGREGATE STRUCTURE VIA THE DISCRETE ELEMENT METHOD Rensing, Patrick J.; Koh, Carolyn A.; Sloan, E. Dendy
As the oil industry moves from a heuristic of avoidance of hydrates to a heuristic of risk management time dependent phenomena of hydrate formation and plugging must be known. One of the key parameters to this process is the aggregation of hydrate particles, the fractal networks they form, and the effect these two parameters have on flow. Unfortunately the aggregation and fractal structure information is extremely difficult to acquire experimentally, for this reason a three-dimension discrete element method (3D-DEM) model has been implemented. The 3D-DEM model calculates detailed solutions to Newton's equations of motion for individual particles. In addition these particles are coupled with the surrounding fluid through computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This coupled 3D-DEM can be used to investigate what the effects of shear, suspending viscosity, attractive forces, and other relevant variables have on the structure, stresses, and positions of the hydrate particles over time. In addition, the effect on viscosity has been calculated using CFD and compared back to basic hard sphere theory.
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