Influence of gravitational potential on the thermodynamic stability of pure and mixed clathrate hydrates
Thermodynamics Research Unit, School of Engineering, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Mazisi Kunene Road, Durban 4041, South Africa
Received: 15 January 2017
Received in final form: 10 March 2017
Published online: 4 May 2017
Clathrate hydrates are an ice-like material consisting of gas molecules confined within cavities in a crystalline water lattice. Phase equilibria of clathrate hydrates systems was described using the statistical mechanical theory of van der Waals and Platteeuw. This theory makes use of the fractional occupancy of cavities within the clathrate hydrate lattice in the determination of chemical equilibria. Classical density functional theory with intermolecular interactions restricted to the first hydration shell was employed to determine the fractional occupancy. In addition to the external field describing the gas-water interactions, the effect of a gravitational field was introduced. The results of the calculations show that although the gravitational potential term may be orders of magnitude smaller than the thermal kinetic energy of the gas species or the hydrogen-bond energy holding the clathrate lattice together, it can nevertheless influence the phase equilibrium of the clathrate hydrate system to some degree. The effect of the magnitudes of both the gravitational potential and the local gravitational field are considered too.
Key words: Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag, 2017