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Fuel 200 (2017) 107112

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Capillary constant and surface tension of methane/hydrogen mixtures


V.G. Baidakov , A.M. Kaverin, K.A. Grishina
Institute of Thermal Physics, Ural Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Amundsen St. 107a, Ekaterinburg 620016, Russia

h i g h l i g h t s g r a p h i c a l a b s t r a c t

 The capillary constant of methane/


hydrogen mixtures has been
measured.
 The surface tension of methane/
hydrogen mixtures has been
calculated.
 The measurements were made by the
differential capillary method.
 Equations for the capillary constant
and surface tension have been
offered.
 Methane/hydrogen mixtures are a
promising kind of fuel for transport.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Methane/hydrogen mixtures are a promising kind of fuel for automobile, water and railway transport,
Received 15 February 2017 supersonic aircraft, and rocket engineering. We have used the differential capillary method to measure
Received in revised form 9 March 2017 the capillary constant a2 and calculate the surface tension r in the temperature range from 95 to
Accepted 13 March 2017
176 K and the pressure range from that of the saturated vapors of pure methane to 4 MPa. Equations have
been derived which describe the temperature, baric and concentration dependences of a2 and r. The
adsorption has been determined. The results of measurements are discussed in the framework of thermo-
Keywords:
dynamic models of the theory of surface phenomena.
Methane/hydrogen mixtures
Capillary constant
2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Surface tension
Differential capillary method
Adsorption

1. Introduction Small additions of hydrogen to natural gas make it possible to


eliminate this disadvantage completely [6,7]. Enriched with hydro-
Natural gas, which mainly consists of methane, is an alternative gen (up to 6 vol%), natural gas with a low content of methane (up
to products of petroleum refinement, namely, gasoline and diesel to 40 vol%) may be used as a fuel for gas-turbine electric genera-
fuel [13]. At present, this is the most economical, environmentally tions [8]. Small amounts of hydrogen in gasoline or diesel fuel
clean and safe kind of fuel, which may be used in both compressed are capable of saving up to 30% of the main fuel [9].
and liquefied form. Liquefied natural gas is a promising fuel for The use of hydrogen as an additional component of a standard
automobile, railway and water transport [4], supersonic aircraft fuel requires reliable data on the properties of hydrogenous mix-
and rocket engineering [5]. As compared with traditional hydrocar- tures. The present paper shows the results of experimental inves-
bon kinds of fuels, methane has a lower normal rate of combustion. tigations of the capillary constant and surface tension of
methane/hydrogen mixtures with a hydrogen content in the liquid
Corresponding author. phase of methane up to 4.5 mol%.
E-mail address: baidakov@itp.uran.ru (V.G. Baidakov).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fuel.2017.03.043
0016-2361/ 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
108 V.G. Baidakov et al. / Fuel 200 (2017) 107112

Surface tension plays a significant role at phase transitions The values of ql and qv , and also the composition of the liquid
determining the tearing-off bubble size and the heat-transfer coef- phase xl (the molar fraction of hydrogen) were determined by data
ficient during liquid boiling, the characteristic size of condensation on the temperature and pressure of saturated vapors from the
centers and the heat-transfer coefficient during drop wise conden- equation of state for a methane/hydrogen mixture [14]. The results
sation. Under the action of capillary forces, a drop of a liquid jet of calculations are given in Table 1. Presented ibidem are the val-
flowing out of a nozzle breaks up, and one can observe the devel- ues of the surface tension.
opment of capillary waves at the free surface of the liquid.
3. Results and discussions
2. Experiment
3.1. Approximations
2.1. Materials
In the whole range of state parameters investigated the capil-
To prepare methane/hydrogen mixtures, use was made of lary constant of methane/hydrogen mixtures is a monotonically
methane produced by the Moscow gas processing plant and hydro- decreasing function of pressure (Fig. 1) and concentration. A simi-
gen produced by UralCryoGas, Russia. The rated purity of methane lar character of pressure and concentration (Fig. 2) dependence is
is 99.99%, and that of hydrogen, 99.999%. The main impurities in also observed for surface tension.
methane were oxygen and nitrogen (no more than 0.006%) and The pressure dependence z a2 or r is presented as follows:
in hydrogen it was oxygen (no more than 0.0008%). The gases
did not undergo any additional purification. z z Bp  p Dp  p 2 : 3

2.2. Method Here z a2 or r , and p p =pc are the capillary constant or sur-
face tension and the reduced pressure of saturated vapors of pure
To determine the surface tension of methane/hydrogen mix- methane, p p=pc , pc 4:598 MPa is the pressure at the critical
tures, use was made of the differential capillary method [1012]. point of methane. The values of a2 , r , p , B and D are functions of
The measuring cell contained three glass capillaries. The internal the temperature.
radii of the capillaries r were determined by calibration with As shown in Refs. [10] and [15], temperature dependences of
mercury and were as follows: r1 0:6393  0:0005 mm, the capillary constant and the surface tension of methane and
r2 0:2297  0:0003 mm, and r3 0:09607  0:00008 mm. other cryogenic liquids in the whole temperature range from the
The cell was thermostatted (0.005 R) in an aluminum block, which triple to the critical point within the experimental error may be
was mounted in the vacuum chamber of a cryostat. The temperature approximated by the equations
in the block was measured by a platinum resistance thermometer
with an error that did not exceed 0.02 K. Before the beginning of a2 a20 en ; 4
measurements, methane was condensed into the cell. The pressure
in the cell was measured by a spring-type pressure gauge. The accu- r r0 el 1 r1 e; 5
racy of determination of the phase-equilibrium pressure was no
where e 1  T=T c , T c 190:54 K is the temperature at the critical
worse than 0.007 MPa. The methane/hydrogen mixture was pre-
pared right in the cell with liquefied methane by letting in hydrogen. point of methane, a20 13:94 mm2 , n 0:906, r0 40:92 mN=m,
After the achievement of phase equilibrium, which was controlled l 1:258, r1 0:095.
by the displacement of the menisci of a liquidgas interface, mea- The pressure of saturated vapors of pure methane is adequately
surements were made of the difference of the heights of liquid rise described by an equation in the form suggested by Wagner [16]
in the capillaries hij . The values of hij obtained were used to calculate ln p a1 e a2 e1:5 a3 e3 a4 e6 =1  e; 6
the capillary constant
1 1 where a1 6:005918, a2 1:193242, a3 0:844288,
a2 hij =bi  bj ; 1 a4 1:180809.
where bi and bj are the radii of curvature of the menisci in the i-th The forms of the functions BT and DT and the values of the
and j-th capillaries, which were determined with the supposition of free parameters included in them have been determined by the
a complete wetting of the capillary walls by the liquid from the Lane method of regressive analysis. Calculations have shown that both
equation [13] by data on the capillary radii ri and r j . for the capillary constant and for the surface tension the root-
mean-square deviation of experimental data from those calculated
A simultaneous use of three capillaries in an experiment made it
possible to obtain at a given temperature and pressure two indepen- by Eq. (3) is minimum if the functions BT and DT look like:
dent values of the capillary constant, which were averaged in the B b1 b2 e2 ; 7
course of processing. This increased the reliability of the data
obtained. The total relative error of determination of a2 at low tem-
D d1 d2 ee2 : 8
peratures did not exceed 0.5% and reached (1.52.0)% at a temper-
ature of 176 K. The results of measuring a2 are presented in Table 1. The values of the coefficients b1 , b2 , d1 and d2 for a and r are
2

given in Table 2. Fig. 3 shows the deviations of experimental values


2.3. Calculations of r from those calculated by Eq. (3). As is clear from Fig. 3, in the
whole temperature and pressure range investigated they are less
The surface tension was calculated by the formula than 2%.
In Fig. 4 data on the surface tension of pure methane are com-
1
r ga2 ql  qv : 2 pared with the results of some preceding papers [12,15,1722].
2
The best agreement is observed with the values of r obtained ear-
Here g 9:8162 m  s2 is the gravitational acceleration at the mea- lier in our laboratory [12,15,17,18]. We do not known of any papers
surement site, ql and qv are the liquid and vapor densities on the on the measurement of the surface tension of methane/hydrogen
phase-equilibrium line. mixtures.
V.G. Baidakov et al. / Fuel 200 (2017) 107112 109

Table 1
Temperature T, pressure p, capillary constant a2, hydrogen content in the liquid phase xl, densities of liquid ql and vapor qv phases, surface tension r of methane/hydrogen
mixtures.

T (K) p (MPa) a2 (mm2) xl (mol%) ql (kg/m3) qv (kg/m3) r (mN/m)


95 0.020 7.50 0 445.8 0.41 16.40
0.482 7.24 0.39 444.9 1.69 15.75
1.072 6.91 0.88 443.8 3.24 14.94
1.644 6.64 1.33 442.8 4.78 14.27
2.233 6.36 1.78 441.9 6.37 13.60
2.801 6.10 2.19 441.0 7.90 12.97
3.371 5.88 2.60 440.1 9.47 12.43
3.738 5.76 2.85 439.6 10.50 12.13
105 0.056 6.77 0 432.0 1.06 14.32
0.467 6.54 0.40 431.1 2.36 13.76
1.058 6.28 0.95 429.8 3.69 13.13
1.649 6.04 1.49 428.6 5.14 12.55
2.213 5.85 1.99 427.6 6.56 12.09
2.789 5.68 2.48 426.5 8.02 11.67
3.377 5.46 2.97 425.4 9.52 11.14
3.891 5.32 3.38 424.6 10.80 10.80
120 0.190 5.68 0 409.9 3.26 11.33
0.485 5.57 0.35 409.0 4.10 11.07
1.409 5.26 1.36 406.8 6.86 10.33
1.638 5.19 1.61 406.3 7.31 10.16
2.232 5.01 2.23 404.9 8.61 9.74
2.799 4.86 2.82 403.6 9.94 9.39
3.386 4.70 3.42 402.2 11.40 9.02
135 0.492 4.59 0 385.6 7.90 8.50
1.068 4.41 0.75 383.9 9.67 8.10
1.679 4.23 1.52 382.1 11.3 7.70
2.212 4.11 2.19 380.6 12.8 7.42
2.795 3.95 2.91 379.0 14.4 7.07
3.370 3.83 3.61 377.4 15.9 6.80
3.901 3.73 4.25 375.9 17.4 6.56
150 1.042 3.41 0 357.8 16.3 5.72
1.660 3.27 0.97 355.5 18.6 5.41
2.213 3.16 1.79 353.6 20.5 5.17
2.799 3.03 2.66 351.5 22.6 4.89
3.362 2.91 3.49 349.6 24.5 4.64
3.937 2.80 4.32 347.5 26.5 4.42
160 1.588 2.64 0 336.3 25.4 4.03
2.220 2.50 1.13 333.5 30.5 3.72
2.788 2.39 2.10 331.1 34.5 3.47
3.394 2.27 3.13 328.6 38.0 3.24
3.929 2.17 4.03 326.4 40.7 3.04
165 1.937 2.26 0 324.1 31.5 3.25
2.237 2.14 0.70 322.5 34.6 3.02
2.810 2.03 1.78 319.7 39.7 2.79
3.368 1.92 2.72 317.1 44.0 2.57
3.918 1.81 3.72 314.6 47.6 2.37
170 2.324 1.84 0 310.5 39.0 2.45
2.795 1.75 0.98 307.8 44.3 2.26
3.367 1.64 2.15 304.7 50.1 2.05
3.882 1.55 3.09 302.0 54.6 1.88
173 2.592 1.62 0 301.5 44.4 2.04
2.885 1.54 0.64 299.7 47.5 1.90
3.191 1.47 1.30 297.9 50.6 1.78
3.570 1.40 2.12 295.7 54.3 1.66
3.936 1.33 2.90 293.6 57.8 1.54
176 2.875 1.37 0 291.5 50.8 1.618
3.194 1.28 0.72 290.3 51.9 1.500
3.573 1.22 1.41 283.5 55.4 1.366
3.919 1.14 2.40 281.0 58.8 1.243

For the concentration dependence z a2 or r we may write an The smallest root-mean-square deviation of experimental data
equation similar to Eq. (3): from Eq. (9) is observed if the functions B0 and D0 are written as
follows:
z z B0 xl D0 x2l 9 B0 b1 b2 e b3 e2 e;
0 0 0
10

D0 d1 e3 :
0
Here the concentration xl is expressed in mol%. 11
110 V.G. Baidakov et al. / Fuel 200 (2017) 107112

Fig. 3. Deviations of experimental values of surface tension rexp from those


calculated by Eq. (3) 1 T = 95; 2 105; 3 120; 4 135; 5 150; 6 160; 7 165;
8 170; 9 173; 10 176 K.

Fig. 1. Capillary constant of methane/hydrogen mixtures as a function of pressure


along isotherms: 1 T = 95; 2 105; 3 120; 4 135; 5 150; 6 160; 7 165;
8 170; 9 173; 10 176 K. A dashed line shows the capillary constant of pure
methane, solid lines, Eq. (3).

Fig. 4. Deviations of experimental values of surface tension rexp of pure methane


from those calculated by Eq. (5): 1 the present paper; 2 Baidakov, Khvostov,
Muratov [15], 3 Baidakov et al. [12], 4 Baidakov, Grishina [17], 5 Baidakov,
Kaverin, Khotienkova [18], 6 Blagoi et al. [19], 7 Fuks, Bellemans [20], 8 Sprow,
Prausnitz [21], 9 Blagoi [22].

on the pressure and the phase composition. According to the finite


thickness layer method [23]

 
dr xr  xl
Fig. 2. Surface tension of methane/hydrogen mixtures as a function of hydrogen s tr  tl  tv  tl ; 12
concentration along isotherms: 1 T = 95; 2 105; 3 120; 4 135; 5 150; dp T xv  xl
6 160; 7 165; 8 170; 9 173; 10 176 K. Solid lines show Eq. (9).
where s is the surface per mole of the surface layer, tl , tv and tr are
the molar volumes of the liquid and vapor phases, and the surface
0 0 0 0
layer, xl , xv and xr are the molar fractions of hydrogen in the liquid
The values of the coefficients b1 , b2 , b3 and d1 are given in and vapor phases, and the surface layer.
Table 2. The pressure dependence of surface tension is connected with
the redistribution of components between the coexistent phases
3.2. Thermodynamic description and the surface layer. This mechanism shows up most vividly in
the critical region, which leads to an essential difference of pres-
Let us consider thermodynamic relations that describe the sure dependences of surface tension close to and away from the
isothermal dependence of the surface tension in a binary system critical point.

Table 2
Coefficients of Eqs. (7), (8) and (10), (11).
0 0
bi, di Eqs. (7) and (8) b i , di Eqs. (10) and (11)
a2 (mm2) r (mN/m) a2 (mm2) r (mN/m)
0
b1 0.869712 1.557154 b1 1.4055710 2.6090850
0
b2 6.415870 19.165170 b2 5.2648250 9.6039170
0
d1 9.504567 19.791230 b3 10.1595100 22.0950000
0
d2 15.330830 28.147320 d1 0.1937314 0.5938643
V.G. Baidakov et al. / Fuel 200 (2017) 107112 111

If the liquid and the vapor are far from the critical state
(tv  tl ), and the composition of the surface layer is intermediate
between the compositions of the coexistent phases (xv > xr > xl ),
then from Eq. (12) follows
 
dr xr  xl
s  tv : 13
dp T xv  xl
The sign of the derivative dr=dpT is determined by the sign of
the concentration factor, which in the approximation adopted is
always positive, and the surface tension decreases with increasing
pressure.
If the content of the gas component (hydrogen) in the surface
layer exceeds considerably its content in the liquid phase
(xr >> xl ), then Eq. (12) takes the form
 
dr xr
s  tv  tl : 14
dp T xv  xl
Since the value of tv  tl is positive, from (14) it also follows that
with an increase in the pressure the surface tension must decrease. Fig. 5. Isotherms of relative adsorption in a methane/nitrogen system: 1 T = 95;
At the approach to the critical point tr  tl ! 0, xr  xl ! 0, 2 105; 3 120; 4 135; 5 150; 6 170 K.

tl ! tv , and tv  tl =xv  xl ! dt=dxc . The derivative


dt=dxc , which determines the shape of the curve of coexistence
of phases close to the critical point, is finite, therefore from the The results of calculating adsorption isotherms in a methane/
conditions written and Eq. (12) it follows that at the critical point hydrogen system by Eq. (18) with the use of data obtained for
dr=dpT;c 0, i.e. at the approach to the critical point the slope of surface tension are presented in Fig. 5.
If the molar surface of a solution is an additive function of the
the surface tension isotherm decreases, which is confirmed by the
composition, then the molar fraction of one of the components in
experimental data obtained.
the surface layer and the relative adsorption are related by the fol-
Assuming that the thickness of the surface layer does not
lowing equation [23]
change with changes in its composition, and the relationship
between the values of xr and xl is linear, i.e. xr k xl , for the iso- xl s C21 1  xl
therm of an ideal binary mixture far from the critical state one xr  : 19
1  s  s C21 1  xl
can write [23]
RT1  k 1 1 c  1k xl This equation makes it possible to check the consistency of two
r r ln : 15 approaches to the description of the surface layers of binary mix-
s 1 c  1k 1  xl
tures the methods of finite thickness layer and interfaces and
where R is the universal gas constant, c s =s , s and s are the to evaluate the effective thickness of the interface. According to
molar surfaces of pure methane and hydrogen. (19), the proportionality coefficient k in the initial segment of the
At xl
1 Eq. (15) is rearranged to give (9), that is isotherm of the surface layer composition is equal to 20.19, which
is in good agreement with its calculation from Eq. (16) (k = 20.57)
RT1  k RT1  k1 c  1k 2
r r xl  xl : 16 and points to the fact that at T 95 K the minimum possible thick-
s 2s
ness of the surface layer is close to one monolayer.
The molar surface of a pure solvent (methane) s may be calcu-
lated by the formula
4. Conclusion
tl 2=3 N 1=3
s A
; 17
i The differential method of capillary rise has been used to mea-
where tl is the molar volume of pure methane in the liquid phase, sure the capillary constant and calculate the surface tension of
N A is the Avogadro number, and i is the number of monolayers in methane/hydrogen mixtures. Experiments were conducted in a
the surface layer. wide temperature range at pressures up to 4 MPa. It has been
found that small additions of hydrogen into methane reduce its
From Eq. (17) for pure methane at T 95 K and i 1 we have
surface tension. The latter is connected with the fact that hydrogen
s 9:20  104 m2 =mol. Formulas (9) and (16) make it possible
in methane is a surface-active substance and is adsorbed at a liq-
now to determine the value of the proportionality coefficient for
uidvapor interface. The data obtained on a2 and r, as functions
the isotherm of the composition of the surface layer k and the value
of the temperature, pressure and concentration, are described by
of the parameter c, connected with the dimensions of the mole-
analytical dependences. The results of experimental investigations
cules of the solvent and the substance being dissolved. At
of the properties of a liquidvapor interface in a methane/hydro-
T 95 K we have k 20:57 and c 0:518. The fact, that k > 1
gen system are in agreement with the data of molecular dynamics
and c < 1 means that in a two-phase methane/hydrogen system
simulation [25,26].
one can observe positive adsorption, the substance with smaller
molecules (hydrogen) acting as a surface active one.
The relation between surface tension and relative adsorption Acknowledgements
C21 is established by the well-known Gibbs equation [24], which
for a weak solution takes the form The work has been supported by the Russian Foundation for
  Basic Research (grant N 15-08-03399) and the Complex
xl 1  xl dr
C21  18 Programme of Fundamental Investigations of the Ural Branch of
RT dxl T the Russian Academy of Sciences (grant N 15-1-2-6).
112 V.G. Baidakov et al. / Fuel 200 (2017) 107112

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