Generation of micro- and nano-bubbles in water by dissociation of gas hydrates
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Gas hydrate crystals have a structure in which one molecule is enclathrated in a cage of water molecules. When such a crystal dissociates in water, each enclathrated molecule, generally vapor at standard temperature and pressure, directly dissolves into the water. After the solution is supersaturated, excess gas molecules from further dissociation start forming small bubbles called micro- and nano-bubbles (MNBs). However, it is difficult to identify such small bubbles dispersed in liquid because they are smaller than a microscope's optical resolution. To confirm the formation of MNBs after gas hydrate dissociation, we used a transmission electron microscope (TEM) to analyze freeze-fracture replicas of CH4-hydrate dissociation solution. The TEM images indicate the existence of MNBs in the solution, with a number concentration similar to that from a commercially supplied generator. Raman spectroscopic measurements on the CH4-hydrate dissociated solution were then used to confirm that the MNBs contain CH4 vapor, and to estimate experimentally the inner pressure of the CH4 MNBs. These results suggest that the dissociation of gas hydrate crystals in water is a simple, effective method to obtain MNB solution. We then discuss how such MNBs may play a key role in the memory effect of gas-hydrate recrystallization.
KeywordsMicrobubble Nanobubble Gas Hydrate Dissociation Freeze Fracture Replica Bubble Pressure Memory Effect
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