A New Critical State Model for Geomechanical Behavior of Methane Hydrate-Bearing Sands

Monday, 15 December 2014
Jeen-Shang Lin1, Pengju Xing1, Jonny Rutqvist2, Yongkoo Seol3 and Jeong-Hoon Choi3, (1)University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Campus, Pittsburgh, PA, United States, (2)Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, Berkeley, CA, United States, (3)National Energy Technology Laboratory Morgantown, Morgantown, WV, United States
Methane hydrate bearing sands behave like sands once the hydrate has dissociated, but could exhibit a substantial increase in the shear strength, stiffness and dilatancy as the degree of hydrate saturation increases. A new critical state model was developed that incorporates the spatially mobilized plane (SMP) concept, which has been proven effective in modeling mechanical behavior of sands. While this new model was built on the basic constructs of the critical state model, important enhancements were introduced. The model adopted the t-stress concept, which defined the normal and shear stress on the SMP, in describing the plastic behavior of the soil. In this connection the versatile Matsuoka-Nakai yield criterion was also employed, which defined the general three dimensional yield behavior. The resulting constitutive law was associated in the t-stress space, but became non-associated in the conventional p-q stress space as it should be for sands. The model also introduced a generalized degree of hydrate saturation concept that was modified from the pioneering work of the Cambridge group. The model gives stress change when the sands are subjected to straining, and/or to hydrate saturation changes. The performance of the model has been found satisfactory using data from laboratory triaxial tests on reconstituted samples and core samples taken from Nankai Trough, Japan. The model has been implemented into FLAC3D. A coupling example with the multiphase flow code, TOUGH+, is presented which simulates the mechanical behavior of a sample when the surrounding temperature has been raised, and the hydrate undergoes state change and no longer resides in the stability zone.