Volume 30, Issue 1 (January 2002)
Synthesis of Methane Hydrate in an Unconsolidated Medium
Under certain conditions of low temperature and high pressure, mixtures of small gas molecules and water form crystalline, ice-like compounds called clathrate hydrates. It is believed that large quantities of natural deposits of methane hydrate are formed in unconsolidated media from natural gas and water. Development of recovery techniques for this potential natural gas resource requires comprehensive laboratory investigations of engineering properties, which in turn require a capability for reproducibly synthesizing methane hydrate in unconsolidated matrix materials. This paper presents a procedure for synthesizing methane hydrate in an unconsolidated sand matrix. Results of dissociation experiments indicate that the samples prepared according to this procedure are relatively homogeneous and suitable for use in investigations of mechanical and other properties. The methane hydrate content and porosity of the samples can be controlled in the procedure developed.