Dai Sheng

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  • Article
    Hydro-bio-geomechanical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments from Nankai Trough
    (Elsevier, 2015-03-01) Santamarina, J. Carlos ; Dai, Sheng ; Terzariol, Marco ; Jang, J. ; Waite, William F. ; Winters, William J. ; Nagao, Jiro ; Yoneda, Jun ; Konno, Yoshihiro ; Fujii, Tetsuya ; Suzuki, K.
    Natural hydrate-bearing sediments from the Nankai Trough, offshore Japan, were studied using the Pressure Core Characterization Tools (PCCTs) to obtain geomechanical, hydrological, electrical, and biological properties under in situ pressure, temperature, and restored effective stress conditions. Measurement results, combined with index-property data and analytical physics-based models, provide unique insight into hydrate-bearing sediments in situ. Tested cores contain some silty-sands, but are predominantly sandy- and clayey-silts. Hydrate saturations Sh range from 0.15 to 0.74, with significant concentrations in the silty-sands. Wave velocity and flexible-wall permeameter measurements on never-depressurized pressure-core sediments suggest hydrates in the coarser-grained zones, the silty-sands where Sh exceeds 0.4, contribute to soil-skeletal stability and are load-bearing. In the sandy- and clayey-silts, where Sh < 0.4, the state of effective stress and stress history are significant factors determining sediment stiffness. Controlled depressurization tests show that hydrate dissociation occurs too quickly to maintain thermodynamic equilibrium, and pressure–temperature conditions track the hydrate stability boundary in pure-water, rather than that in seawater, in spite of both the in situ pore water and the water used to maintain specimen pore pressure prior to dissociation being saline. Hydrate dissociation accompanied with fines migration caused up to 2.4% vertical strain contraction. The first-ever direct shear measurements on never-depressurized pressure-core specimens show hydrate-bearing sediments have higher sediment strength and peak friction angle than post-dissociation sediments, but the residual friction angle remains the same in both cases. Permeability measurements made before and after hydrate dissociation demonstrate that water permeability increases after dissociation, but the gain is limited by the transition from hydrate saturation before dissociation to gas saturation after dissociation. In a proof-of-concept study, sediment microbial communities were successfully extracted and stored under high-pressure, anoxic conditions. Depressurized samples of these extractions were incubated in air, where microbes exhibited temperature-dependent growth rates.
  • Article
    Hydrate morphology : physical properties of sands with patchy hydrate saturation
    (American Geophysical Union, 2012-11-14) Dai, Sheng ; Santamarina, J. Carlos ; Waite, William F. ; Kneafsey, Timothy J.
    The physical properties of gas hydrate-bearing sediments depend on the volume fraction and spatial distribution of the hydrate phase. The host sediment grain size and the state of effective stress determine the hydrate morphology in sediments; this information can be used to significantly constrain estimates of the physical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments, including the coarse-grained sands subjected to high effective stress that are of interest as potential energy resources. Reported data and physical analyses suggest hydrate-bearing sands contain a heterogeneous, patchy hydrate distribution, whereby zones with 100% pore-space hydrate saturation are embedded in hydrate-free sand. Accounting for patchy rather than homogeneous hydrate distribution yields more tightly constrained estimates of physical properties in hydrate-bearing sands and captures observed physical-property dependencies on hydrate saturation. For example, numerical modeling results of sands with patchy saturation agree with experimental observation, showing a transition in stiffness starting near the series bound at low hydrate saturations but moving toward the parallel bound at high hydrate saturations. The hydrate-patch size itself impacts the physical properties of hydrate-bearing sediments; for example, at constant hydrate saturation, we find that conductivity (electrical, hydraulic and thermal) increases as the number of hydrate-saturated patches increases. This increase reflects the larger number of conductive flow paths that exist in specimens with many small hydrate-saturated patches in comparison to specimens in which a few large hydrate saturated patches can block flow over a significant cross-section of the specimen.