Journal article

Fast methane diffusion at the interface of two clathrate structures

Methane hydrates naturally form on Earth and in the interiors of some icy bodies of the Universe, and are also expected to play a paramount role in future energy and environmental technologies. Here we report experimental observation of an extremely fast methane diffusion at the interface of the two most common clathrate hydrate structures, namely clathrate structures I and II. Methane translational diffusion-measured by quasielastic neutron scattering at 0.8 GPa-is faster than that expected in pure supercritical methane at comparable pressure and temperature. This phenomenon could be an effect of strong confinement or of methane aggregation in the form of micro-nanobubbles at the interface of the two structures. Our results could have implications for understanding the replacement kinetics during sI-sII conversion in gas exchange experiments and for establishing the methane mobility in methane hydrates embedded in the cryosphere of large icy bodies in the Universe.


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