Development of a high pressure automated lag time apparatus (HP-ALTA) for experimental studies and statistical analysis of nucleation and growth of gas hydrates
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Maeda, N and Wells, D and Becker, NC and Hartley, PG and Wilson, PW and Haymet, ADJ and Kozielski, KA, Development of a high pressure automated lag time apparatus (HP-ALTA) for experimental studies and statistical analysis of nucleation and growth of gas hydrates, Review of Scientific Instruments, 82 Article 065109. ISSN 0034-6748 (2011) [Refereed Article]
Nucleation in a supercooled or a supersaturated medium is a stochastic event, and hence statistical analyses are required for the understanding and prediction of such events. The development of reliable statistical methods for quantifying nucleation probability is highly desirable for applications where control of nucleation is required. The nucleation of gas hydrates in supercooled conditions is one such application. We describe the design and development of a high pressure automated lag time apparatus (HP-ALTA) for the statistical study of gas hydrate nucleation and growth at elevated gas pressures. The apparatus allows a small volume (≈150 l) of water to be cooled at a controlled rate in a pressurized gas atmosphere, and the temperature of gas hydrate nucleation, Tf, to be detected. The instrument then raises the sample temperature under controlled conditions to facilitate dissociation of the gas hydrate before repeating the cooling-nucleation cycle again. This process of forming and dissociating gas hydrates can be automatically repeated for a statistically significant (100) number of nucleation events. The HP-ALTA can be operated in two modes, one for the detection of hydrate in the bulk of the sample, under a stirring action, and the other for the detection of the formation of hydrate films across the water-gas interface of a quiescent sample. The technique can be applied to the study of several parameters, such as gas pressure, cooling rate and gas composition, on the gas hydrate nucleation probability distribution for supercooled water samples. © 2011 American Institute of Physics.
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