Apparatus for synthesizing pure, large volume, fully dense, polycrystalline cylindrical samples of H2O ice, D2O ice, ice and particulate mixtures, and NH3 and CH4 based ices.

Samples synthesized are used in high pressure, low temperature deformation experiment conducted at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, in which strength, fracture, and flow behavior of icy minerals, alloys, hydrates, and a variety of ice-rock mixtures are measured at physical conditions of the outer solar system.

High-pressure, constant-volume gas hydrate synthesis apparatus

This apparatus has been in use since 1989, making samples of methane hydrate for mechanical testing. It has recently been refurbished with tighter seals and better temperature and pressure measurements to allow its use as a tool for quantitative reaction rate studies. The apparatus synthesizes various kinds of hydrate and sediment mixtures, and has been used recently to fabricate other gas hydrate compositions, including CO2 hydrate and natural gas (methane-ethane-propane) hydrate. It is currently being upgraded to allow in situ compaction ability, as well as precise hydrate-dissociation rate measuring capability.

High pressure optical cell

Allows direct observation by optical microscope of a 1 mm diameter pressurized chamber in a fused silica tube at pressures less than or equal to 100 MPa. This device has been used to study details of the gas hydrate foration process.

X-Ray Powder Diffractometer

With cryogenic capability. In use since 1986 as a phase identification tool for various frozen volatiles, including gas hydrates and high pressure polymorphs of H2O ices that are not stable at room pressure.

Cryogenic transport and storate dewars

For long term storage and for sample transport.


For making thin sections.

Ice Physics Facility at LLNL

Large bore and small bore deformation apparatus

Gas confining pressure capacity to 0.35 and 1 Gpa, respectively, and both have temperature ranges from room temperature to 770K. (Collaborator W.B. Durham, LLNL)

Apparatus used for:

  • Densification of samples synthesized in the USGS constant volume reactor
  • Thermal diffusivity measurements
  • Brittle field inelastic deformation experiments
  • Ductile field steady state flow experiments
  • Studies of high pressure stability limits
  • Measurements of inelastic strength at very low stresses, at warm temperatures and slow (earth-like) deformation rates
  • Measurement of mechnical behavior and thermal diffusivity under unstable gas hydrate conditions

 | Capabilities |
| Rock Mechanics and Seismic Analysis  |


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