Molecular dynamics simulation of methane in sodium montmorillonite clay hydrates at elevated pressures and temperatures

J.O. Titiloye, N.T. Skipper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Computer simulation has been used to study the structure and dynamics of methane in hydrated sodium montmorillonite clays under conditions encountered in sedimentary basins. Systems containing approximately one, two, three and four molecular layers of water have followed gradients of 150 bar km-1 and 30Kkm-1, to a maximum burial depth of 6 km (900 bar and 460 K). Methane is coordinated to approximately 19 oxygen atoms, of which typically 6 are provided by the clay surface. Only in the three- and four-layer hydrates is methane able to leave the clay surface. Diffusion depends strongly on the porosity (water content) and burial depth: self-diffusion coefficients are in the range 0.12 × 10-9m2s-1 for water and 0.04 × 10−9m2s−1 < D < 8.64 × 10−9m2s−1 for methane. Bearing in mind that porosity decreases with burial depth, it is estimated that maximum diffusion occurs at around 3 km. This is in good agreement with the known location of methane reservoirs in sedimentary basins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)899-906
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Physics
Volume99
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2001

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