Campus Units

Mechanical Engineering, Chemical and Biological Engineering

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering

First Page





Hydrate plug formation remains a common issue in off-shore oil extraction. These plugs usually form within low temperature, high pressure environments over a short timeframe. It is desirable to visualize and quantify hydrate formation, where the results can later be used to validate formation models. This study presents preliminary findings from the use of X-ray imaging to capture temporal images of the hydrate formation process using cyclopentane, which forms a structure II hydrate, similar to that formed in oil extraction. A hydrate region was formed within a mixing chamber, and the formation process was captured using both X-ray radiography and X-ray computed tomography (CT). Image processing procedures were developed to extract qualitative and quantitative measures of hydrate formation. Formation trends correlated to the recorded time-temperature histories within the mixing tank. Additionally, formation growth patterns were qualitatively consistent across multiple trials. Quantitative analysis, however, remained difficult due to slight variations in X-ray intensity and temperature histories that resulted in significant differences in the measured hydrate region.


This is a manuscript of an article published as Pillers, Roy A., and Theodore J. Heindel. "Dynamic Visualization of Hydrate Formation using X-Ray Imaging." Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering (2021): 108334. DOI: 10.1016/j.petrol.2020.108334. Posted with permission.

Copyright Owner

Elsevier B.V.



File Format


Available for download on Friday, January 06, 2023

Published Version