Dynamic in situ imaging of methane hydrate formation in coal media

Viktor V. Nikitin, Mikhail I. Fokin, Geser A. Dugarov, Arkady N. Drobchik, Vincent De Andrade, Pavel D. Shevchenko, Andrey Yu Manakov, Anton A. Duchkov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Fast 3D X-ray imaging has proved to provide crucial insights into multi-phase dynamic processes in various geo-materials. In particular, many in situ imaging experiments have been made to study gas-hydrate formation in porous sandy samples. Such imaging is challenging for the methane gas-hydrate formation in coal samples because of the coal micro-porosity structure and lower X-ray contrast. Here we present results of the first dynamic in situ micro-computed tomography experiment of methane-hydrate formation in coal samples. Synchrotron phase-contrast tomography techniques allowed to achieve necessary contrast levels to separate all the materials of interest (gas, water, coal, and gas hydrate) in reconstructed images with high spatial and temporal resolution. The imaging results are compared to the ones from a similar tomographic experiment with sand samples. Methane-hydrate formation is accompanied by the water movements caused by cryogenic water suction that happens in sequences of short fast movements with longer equilibrium states in between. Only one type of the hydrate formation was observed in coal (growth as shells on grain boundaries) as opposed to three types in sand (shells, growth into gas pockets, and inside water volumes). In particular, this leads to a slower hydrate-formation speed in coal. For the coal sample, we also observed water extraction from grains, and interpreted it as competitive sorption of methane. We visualized the dynamic behavior of this water extraction via micro-channels inside the coal grains, and performed nano-tomography imaging of these channels for a better understanding of this phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120699
JournalFuel
Volume298
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2021

Keywords

  • Coal
  • Competitive sorption
  • Gas hydrates
  • Phase-contrast imaging
  • X-ray synchrotron imaging

OECD FOS+WOS

  • 1.07 OTHER NATURAL SCIENCES
  • 2.04 CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
  • 1.04 CHEMICAL SCIENCES

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