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  1. Nucleation of clathrate hydrates at low temperatures is constrained by very long induction (wait) times, which can range from hours to days. Electronucleation (application of an electrical potential difference across the hydrate forming solution) can significantly reduce the induction time. This work studies the use of porous open-cell foams of various materials as electronucleation electrodes. Experiments with tetrahydrofuran (THF) hydrates reveal that aluminum and carbon foam electrodes can enable voltage-dependent nucleation, with induction times dependent on the ionization tendency of the foam material. Furthermore, we observe a non-trivial dependence of the electronucleation parameters such as induction time and the recalescencemore »temperature on the water:THF molar ratio. This study further corroborates previously developed hypotheses which associated rapid hydrate nucleation with the formation of metal-ion coordination compounds. Overall, this work studies various aspects of electronucleation with aluminum and carbon foams.« less
  2. Nucleation of hydrates is constrained by very long induction (wait) times, which can range from hours to days. Electronucleation (application of an electrical potential across the precursor solution) can significantly reduce the induction time for nucleation. This study shows that porous aluminum foams (open-cell) enable near-instantaneous electronucleation at very low voltages. Experiments with tetrahydrofuran hydrates reveal that aluminum foam electrodes enable voltage-dependent nucleation with induction times of only tens of seconds at voltages as low as 20 V. Foam-based electrodes can reduce the induction time by up to 150X when compared to non-foam electrodes. Furthermore, this study reveals that electronucleationmore »can be attributed to two distinct phenomena, namely bubble generation (due to electrolysis), and the formation of metal-ion coordination compounds. These mechanisms affect the induction time to different extents and depend on electrode material and polarity. Overall, this work uncovers the benefits of using foams for formation of hydrates, with foams aiding nucleation as well as propagation of the hydrate formation front.« less