Temperature dependence of adsorption hysteresis in flexible metal organic frameworks

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“Breathing” and “gating” are striking phenomena exhibited by flexible metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) in which their pore structures transform upon external stimuli. These effects are often associated with eminent steps and hysteresis in sorption isotherms. Despite significant mechanistic studies, the accurate description of stepped isotherms and hysteresis remains a barrier to the promised applications of flexible MOFs in molecular sieving, storage and sensing. Here, we investigate the temperature dependence of structural transformations in three flexible MOFs and present a new isotherm model to consistently analyse the transition pressures and step widths. The transition pressure reduces exponentially with decreasing temperature as does the degree of hysteresis (c.f. capillary condensation). The MOF structural transition enthalpies range from +6 to +31 kJ·mol−1 revealing that the adsorption-triggered transition is entropically driven. Pressure swing adsorption process simulations based on flexible MOFs that utilise the model reveal how isotherm hysteresis can affect separation performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number186 (2020)
JournalCommunications Chemistry
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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