Molecular-scale thermally activated fractures in methane hydrates: a molecular dynamics study

HA Sveinsson and A Malthe-Sorenssen, PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 21, 13539-13544 (2019).

DOI: 10.1039/c9cp01337g

We perform multiple large molecular dynamics simulations to study the fracture behaviour of monocrystalline methane hydrates under tension. We examine the fracture initiation phase and find that the fracture process can be divided into two phases: slow crack growth and rapid crack propagation. The time of the slow crack growth phase can be predicted by a thermal activation model L. Vanel et al., J. Phys. D: Appl. Phys., 2009, 42, 214007 where an energy barrier has to be overcome in order for the crack to propagate. Our simulations predict that the slow growth phase vanishes when the stress intensity factor approaches K-Ic = 0.08 MPa root m.

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