Solubility of Methane in Water: Some Useful Results for Hydrate Nucleation

Grabowska, S. Blazquez, E. Sanz, I. M. Zerón, J. Algaba, J. M. Míguez, F. J. Blas, C. Vega J. Phys. Chem. B 2022,

In this paper, the solubility of methane in water along the 400 bar isobar is determined by computer simulations using the TIP4P/Ice force field for water and a simple LJ model for methane. In particular, the solubility of methane in water when in contact with the gas phase and the solubility of methane in water when in contact with the hydrate has been determined. The solubility of methane in a gas–liquid system decreases as temperature increases. The solubility of methane in a hydrate–liquid system increases with temperature. The two curves intersect at a certain temperature that determines the triple point T3 at a certain pressure. We also determined T3 by the three-phase direct coexistence method. The results of both methods agree, and we suggest 295(2) K as the value of T3 for this system. We also analyzed the impact of curvature on the solubility of methane in water. We found that the presence of curvature increases the solubility in both the gas–liquid and hydrate–liquid systems. The change in chemical potential for the formation of hydrate is evaluated along the isobar using two different thermodynamic routes, obtaining good agreement between them. It is shown that the driving force for hydrate nucleation under experimental conditions is higher than that for the formation of pure ice when compared at the same supercooling. We also show that supersaturation (i.e., concentrations above those of the planar interface) increases the driving force for nucleation dramatically. The effect of bubbles can be equivalent to that of an additional supercooling of about 20 K. Having highly supersaturated homogeneous solutions makes possible the spontaneous formation of the hydrate at temperatures as high as 285 K (i.e., 10K below T3). The crucial role of the concentration of methane for hydrate formation is clearly revealed. Nucleation of the hydrate can be either impossible or easy and fast depending on the concentration of methane which seems to play the leading role in the understanding of the kinetics of hydrate formation.