The thermodynamic and kinetic properties of hydrocarbons at high pressures and temperature are important for understanding carbon reservoirs and fluxes in Earth. A new computational study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals how higher hydrocarbons may be formed from methane at deep Earth pressures and temperature. The work provides a basis for understanding experiments that demonstrated polymerization of methane to form high hydrocarbons and earlier methane forming reactions under pressure .
Simulations of hydrocarbon-diamond interface by L. Spanu et al.
The research was a team effort among colleagues at the University of California at Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Shell Projects & Technology. One of the researchers, UC Davis Professor Giulia Galli, is the co-chair of the Deep Carbon Observatory's Extreme Physics and Chemistry Community.