Among outstanding issues still to be understood regarding the clathrate hydrates are the mechanism of the processes involved in the formation and decomposition of clathrates: nucleation, decomposition, and the memory effect during reformation. The latter involves the shorter induction times required for solutions of decomposed hydrate to nucleate as compared to those for freshly prepared solutions. The formation of the clathrate hydrate phases of insoluble gases in water is accompanied by a ∼6000 fold concentration of the gas content in the solid phase compared to the aqueous phase from which it forms. The nucleation mechanism for the solid hydrate which allows the delivery of such high concentration of gas and water in one location has been the subject of much experimental and computational study. While these studies have improved our understanding of the nucleation process, many unknown aspects remain. These developments are described in this Opinion.
Current Opinion in Solid State and Materials Science20, no. 6 (December 2016): 344–351.