How Properties of Solid Surfaces Modulate the Nucleation of Gas Hydrate

DS Bai and GJ Chen and XR Zhang and AK Sum and WC Wang, SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, 5, 12747 (2015).

DOI: 10.1038/srep12747

Molecular dynamics simulations were performed for CO2 dissolved in water near silica surfaces to investigate how the hydrophilicity and crystallinity of solid surfaces modulate the local structure of adjacent molecules and the nucleation of CO2 hydrates. Our simulations reveal that the hydrophilicity of solid surfaces can change the local structure of water molecules and gas distribution near liquid-solid interfaces, and thus alter the mechanism and dynamics of gas hydrate nucleation. Interestingly, we find that hydrate nucleation tends to occur more easily on relatively less hydrophilic surfaces. Different from surface hydrophilicity, surface crystallinity shows a weak effect on the local structure of adjacent water molecules and on gas hydrate nucleation. At the initial stage of gas hydrate growth, however, the structuring of molecules induced by crystalline surfaces are more ordered than that induced by amorphous solid surfaces.

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