Molecular Simulation Study of Noble Gas + n-Decane Binary Mixtures are Reservoir Conditions

  • Tule Sirikitputtisak

Student thesis: Phd


Carbon capture and sequestration are considered to be a temporary fix to the climate change global crisis. Following the noble gas tracers injection field experiment at Salt Creek in the state of Wyoming, USA, these tracers may be used to characterise the reservoir as a potential geological sequestration site for carbon dioxide. This study aims to investigate various thermodynamics properties of the five noble gases (Xe, Kr, Ar, Ne, and He) in n-decane at reservoir conditions (340 K - 460 K and 10 MPa - 200 MPa). The study utilises the SKS force field to describe n-decane and both Gibbs Ensemble Monte Carlo and molecular dynamics simulations were used to investigate the solubility, diffusivity, and vapour-liquid equilibrium of the five binary mixtures.The size of the noble gases was found to be important in these nonpolar mixtures where typical interactions are weak and short-ranged. The enthalpies of solvation were calculated and found to be directly correlated to the size of the solute where the energy required for the formation of a cavity to accommodate the solute is compensated by the nature of the intermolecular interaction between solvent and solute. The mixture of Ar + n-decane is of interest particularly because the sigma value for Ar is very similar to that of the CH3 group, resulting in the overall non-mononicity of several thermodynamics properties. Additionally, maxima in enthalpies of solvation were observed in Xe and Kr in n-decane solution at 200 MPa. While these maxima were observed in two different species at similar conditions, they are accommodated by unusually high uncertainties - further investigation is required before definitive conclusions can be drawn.The results from the vapour-liquid equilibrium study of the five noble gas + n-decane binary mixtures were in good agreement with the Peng-Robinson equation of state predictions. What is more, the diffusion coefficient ratios amongst the five noble gases in n-decane were investigated in light of Stoke-Einstein's relation and Enskog's hard-sphere relation. Three different radii of solute-solvent interaction were investigated and the best fit was observed when R =radius of solute + radius of gyration of n-decane. Additionally, the diffusion coefficients were utilised in the reservoir simulation to investigate the role of diffusion within the reservoir.
Date of Award1 Aug 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAndrew Masters (Supervisor), Christopher Ballentine (Supervisor) & Rossmary Villegas (Supervisor)


  • Monte Carlo
  • reservoir conditions
  • molecular dynamics
  • decane
  • tracer
  • molecular simulation
  • carbon dioxide
  • sequestration
  • noble gas

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