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Key Advancement in Metal-Organic Frameworks Aimed at Broadening Industrial Uses

PNNL research was featured on front cover of Dalton Transactions

July 2015
Commercialization of Metal-Organic Frameworks Possible after New Study
Image reproduced by permission of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and The Royal Society of Chemistry from Dalton Trans., 2015, 44, 13490-13497, DOI: 10.1039/C5DT00606F
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With high surface areas, thermal stability, and the ability to adjust pore size, metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) offer great promise for a variety of applications, including gas separation, gas storage, sensing, imaging, proton conduction, drug delivery, and catalysis.

Despite their potential, one limitation with MOFs is their high affinity to absorb water. Carlos Fernandez and Satish Nune, researchers in the Hydrocarbon Processing group, have been leading a PNNL study on the modification of MOF structures to increase their stability against moisture without compromising unique physical properties, such as the adsorption of carbon dioxide. Their work was published in Dalton Transactions and featured on the cover.

The research provides experimental and modeling evidence supporting the incorporation of hydrophobic molecules on the external surface of MOFs, which are comprised of metal ion(s) and an organic molecule called a linker. The incorporation of a hydrophobic shell would also potentially address water poisoning, a frequent issue in catalysis. As such, the new method could be applied to a number of porous catalyst materials, including zeolites, where water could be detrimental to their applications.

This work was supported by Laboratory Directed Research Development, the DOE Office of Fossil Energy, the Energy Conversion Initiative, and the DOE Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Division of Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences.

PNNL Research Team: Carlos Fernandez, Satish Nune, Harsha Annapureddy, Liem Dang, Pete McGrail, Richard Zheng, Evgueni Polikarpov, David King, Charles Freeman, and Kriston Brooks


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