Astrophysics (Index)About

clathrate

(crystal lattice with voids that can trap molecules)

A clathrate is a chemical structure that can trap molecules by surrounding them, typically a crystal with "internal gaps", or voids where a separate molecule might sit, surrounded by the crystal structure. They can occur in nature (e.g., formed at extreme pressures and/or temperatures) and may be created artificially. Clathrate hydrates are water crystals in a pattern that are clathrates, and a methane clathrate (or filled ice) is a clathrate hydrate that is trapping methane.


(chemistry)
Further reading:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrate_compound
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clathrate_hydrate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate

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