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Methane Bubble Growth and Migration in Aquatic Sediments Observed by X-ray µCT.

Liu, Liu; De Kock, Tim; Wilkinson, Jeremy; Cnudde, Veerle; Xiao, Shangbin; Buchmann, Christian; Uteau, Daniel; Peth, Stephan; Lorke, Andreas.
Environ Sci Technol; 52(4): 2007-2015, 2018 02 20.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29377677
Methane bubble formation and transport is an important component of biogeochemical carbon cycling in aquatic sediments. To improve understanding of how sediment mechanical properties influence bubble growth and transport in freshwater sediments, a 20-day laboratory incubation experiment using homogenized natural clay and sand was performed. Methane bubble development at high resolution was characterized by µCT. Initially, capillary invasion by microbubbles (<0.1 mm) dominated bubble formation, with continued gas production (4 days for clay; 8 days for sand), large bubbles formed by deforming the surrounding sediment, leading to enhanced of macropore connectivity in both sediments. Growth of large bubbles (>1 mm) was possible in low shear yield strength sediments (<100 Pa), where excess gas pressure was sufficient to displace the sediment. Lower within the sand, higher shear yield strength (>360 Pa) resulted in a predominance of microbubbles where the required capillary entry pressure was low. Enhanced bubble migration, triggered by a controlled reduction in hydrostatic head, was observed throughout the clay column, while in sand mobile bubbles were restricted to the upper 6 cm. The observed macropore network was the dominant path for bubble movement and release in both sediments.