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Methane Hydrate Crystallization on Sessile Water Droplets

  • Johnson, Abigail M.1
  • Zhao, Yumeng2
  • Kim, Jongchan2
  • Dai, Sheng2
  • Glass, Jennifer B.1
  • 1 Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • 2 Civil and Environmental Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
Published Article
Journal of Visualized Experiments
MyJoVE Corporation
Publication Date
May 26, 2021
DOI: 10.3791/62686
PMID: 34125108
PMCID: PMC8227821
PubMed Central
  • Article


This paper describes a method to form methane hydrate shells on water droplets. In addition, it provides blueprints for a pressure cell rated to 10 MPa working pressure, containing a stage for sessile droplets, a sapphire window for visualization, and temperature and pressure transducers. A pressure pump connected to a methane gas cylinder is used to pressurize the cell to 5 MPa. The cooling system is a 10 gallon (37.85 L) tank containing a 50% ethanol solution cooled via ethylene glycol through copper coils. This setup enables the observation of the temperature change associated with hydrate formation and dissociation during cooling and depressurization, respectively, as well as visualization and photography of the morphologic changes of the droplet. With this method, rapid hydrate shell formation was observed at ~−6 °C to −9 °C. During depressurization, a 0.2 °C to 0.5 °C temperature drop was observed at the pressure/temperature (P/T) stability curve due to exothermic hydrate dissociation, confirmed by visual observation of melting at the start of the temperature drop. The "memory effect" was observed after repressurizing to 5 MPa from 2 MPa. This experimental design allows the monitoring of pressure, temperature, and morphology of the droplet over time, making this a suitable method for testing various additives and substrates on hydrate morphology.

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