The Viscosity of Methane
- Mario H. Gonzalez (Institute Of Gas Technology) | Richard F. Bukacek (Institute Of Gas Technology) | Anthony L. Lee (Institute Of Gas Technology)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- March 1967
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 75 - 79
- 1967. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.3.4 Scale, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.6 Natural Gas
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Experimental viscosity data for methane are presented for temperatures from 100 to 340F and pressures from 200 to 8,000 psia. A summary is given of the available date for methane, and a comparison is presented for that data common to the experimental range reported in this paper. Correlation of the data is presented, and predicted values are given for temperatures up to 460F and pressures up to 10,000 psia.
The increasing ranges of temperature and pressure at which fluids are produced, transferred and processed in the petroleum and chemical industries stress the need for accurate information on physical properties, both for engineering calculation and for improving the methods used to estimate physical properties. A survey of the literature reveals that disagreements between published data on the viscosity of methane are common and that most investigations have been conducted over restricted temperature and pressure ranges. This situation made it desirable to undertake an investigation with a scope common to most of the literature data available.
APPARATUS AND MATERIALS
The apparatus used in this investigation was the capillary tube viscometer described by Dolan, with modifications introduced in the general design and operation of the instrument. It has an effective pressure range from 14.7 to 10,000 psia and a temperature range from room temperature to 400F. The design of the viscometer is based on the establishment of a manometric head between two vessels containing the test fluid and a volume of mercury. The reservoirs are connected by a capillary tube through which the test fluid flows and a tube through which mercury flows. A pressure gradient is established by elevating one of the vessels above the other, the resulting flow of mercury displacing the test fluid through the capillary. The schematic diagram of the system (Fig. 1) shows the arrangement of the equipment auxiliary to the viscometer. The density cells assembly (E, Fig. 1) was not used in this investigation since reliable data are available on methane. The assembly consists of a bank of eight 316 stainless steel pycnometers. Experimental values of the density of a natural gas and i-butane samples have been obtained for pressures up to 8,000 psia and temperatures up to 340F. The methane used was obtained from the Southern California Gas Co. Mass spectrometric analysis showed a composition of 99.8 percent CH4, 0.1 percent C2H6 and 0.1 percent C3H8.
EXPERIMENTAL VALUES AND ACCURACY OF DATA
Determinations were carried out at several temperatures. With the temperature in the cabinet controlled at a given level, a series of runs were made at various pressures. To establish pressures lower than that obtained from the methane cylinder, it was necessary to vent the gas slowly to the atmosphere until the desired pressure was reached. The consistency of the test run time for a particular condition can be used as a criterion for the accuracy of the data. A further check is obtained by comparison of the viscosity values obtained using different driving heads. To establish the instrument's reproducibility, a large number of runs were made at three completely different conditions of temperature and pressure. Data obtained were analyzed statistically to determine the most reliable value for the variance of the experimental data. It was found that the variances of the data taken at different experimental conditions were not statistically equivalent, but they were small. The largest variance was found at 8,000 psia and 100F, where the standard deviation was 0.385 micropoise. Therefore, 99.9 percent of the data can be expected to fall within 1.15 micropoises of the population mean, except fm the intervention of systematic errors in operation.
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