CRYOGENIC-SEM INVESTIGATION OF CO2 HYDRATE MORPHOLOGIES Camps, A.P; Milodowski, A.E.; Rochelle, C.A.; Lovell, M.A.; Williams, J.F.; Jackson, P.D.
Gas hydrates occur naturally around the world in the shallow-marine geosphere, and have received diverse attention, crossing many disciplines, ranging from interest as a drilling hazard in the petroleum industry through to their role in the carbon cycle, and their possible contribution in past and present climate change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) hydrates also occur naturally on Earth in the Okinawa Trough, offshore Japan, and they could exist elsewhere in the solar system. Additionally, CO2 hydrates are being investigated for their potential to store large volumes of CO2 to reduce atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases as a climate change mitigation strategy. Although research into hydrates has rapidly gained pace in more recent years their mineralogy and formation processes are still relatively poorly understood. Various imaging techniques have been used to study gas hydrates, such as Nuclear Magnetic Resonance; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; X-ray Computed Tomography and Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). We have investigated CO2 hydrates formed within the BGS laboratories, using a cryogenic-SEM. This investigation has produced various different hydrate morphologies resulting from different formation conditions. Morphologies range from well-defined euhedral crystals to acicular needles, and more complex, intricate forms. Cryogenic-SEM of these hydrates has yielded a wealth of information, and with further investigation of hydrate formed within different formation conditions we may begin to comprehend the complex growth mechanisms involved.
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