American Chemical Society
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Swelling Characteristics and Interaction Mechanism of High-Rank Coal during CO2 Injection: A Molecular Simulation Study

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-02-23, 06:27 authored by Kui Dong, Zhiwei Zhai, Bingyi Jia
In CO2-enhanced coalbed methane (CO2-ECBM) engineering, accurate knowledge of the interaction mechanism of CO2 and coal matrix is crucial for improving the recovery of CH4 and contributing to the geological sequestration of CO2. This study is performed to prove the accuracy of molecular simulation and calculate the variation characteristics of pore structure, volumetric strain, mechanical properties, Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectra, and the system free energy by molecular dynamics (MD) and grand canonical Monte Carlo (GCMC) methods. According to the obtained results, a relationship between pore structure, swelling strain, mechanical properties, chemical structure, and surface free energy was established. Then, the correlation of various coal change characteristics was analyzed to elucidate the interaction mechanism between CO2 and coal. The results showed that (1) the molecular simulation method was able to estimate the swelling mechanism of CO2 and coal. However, because the adsorption capacity of the molecular simulate is greater than that of the experiment and the raw coal is softer than the macromolecular structure, the molecular results are slightly better than the experimental results. (2) As pressure increased from 0 to 4 MPa, the intramolecular pores and sorption-induced strain changed significantly, whereas when the pressure increased from 4 to 8 MPa (especially at 6–8 Mpa), there was an increase of the intermolecular pores and mechanical properties and transition from elastic to plastic. In addition, when the pressure was >8 MPa, the coal matrix changed slightly. ScCO2 with a higher adsorption capacity results in greater damage and causes larger alterations of coal mechanical properties. (3) The change of the coal matrix is essentially controlled by the surface free energy of the molecular system. Evalence affects the aromatic structure and changes the volume of the intramolecular pores, thus affecting the sorption-induced strain change rate. Enon affects the length of side chains and the disorder degree of coal molecules and changes the volume of the intramolecular pores, thus affecting the mechanical property change rate. Our findings shed light on the dynamic process of coal swelling and provide a theoretical basis for CO2 enhancing the recovery of CH4 gas in coal.