The dynamic behavior of gas hydrate dissociation by heating in tight sandy reservoirs: A molecular dynamics simulation study

Bin Fang, Fulong Ning*, Wenjia Ou, Dongdong Wang, Zhun Zhang, Yanjiang Yu, Hongfeng Lu, Jianyang Wu, Thijs J.H. Vlugt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
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Knowledge on the kinetics of gas hydrate dissociation in microporous sediments is very important for developing safe and efficient approaches to gas recovery from natural gas hydrate (NGH) deposits. Herein, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations are used to study the dissociation kinetics in microporous sediments. The hydrate phase occupies a confined sandy nanopore formed by two hydroxylated silica surfaces with a buffering water layer between the hydrate and silica phase, meanwhile, this system is in contact with the bulk phase outside the pore. The hydrates in this sediment system dissociate layer-by-layer in a shrinking core manner. The released methane molecules aggregate and eventually evolve into nanobubbles, most of which are spherical cap-shaped on the hydroxylated silica surfaces. At high initial temperatures, a faster decomposition of the hydrate phase is observed, however, fewer methane molecules migrate to the bulk phase from the pore phase. These phenomena may occur because more methane molecules are released from the hydrate phase and facilitate the formation of nanobubbles with large heat injection; these nanobubbles can stably adsorb on the surface of silica and capture the surrounding methane molecules, thereby decreasing the number of methane molecules in the water phase. In addition, the injection speed of heat flow should be significantly increased at high dissociation temperatures when using the thermal stimulation method to extract gas from hydrates in tight sediments. This study provides molecular level insight into the kinetic mechanism of hydrate dissociation and theoretical guidance for gas production by thermal injection from sediments with low permeabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116106
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Dissociation kinetics
  • Heat injection
  • Methane hydrate
  • Molecular simulation
  • Nanobubbles
  • Tight sandy sediments

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