Effect of guest uptake and high pressure on Zn- and Zr- metal-organic frameworks
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date07/07/2018
Hobday, Claire Louise
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Porous materials are essential to our everyday lives, for example as an effective catalyst in the cracking of crude oil, or as water softeners in washing powder. When developing novel functional porous materials, it is necessary to fully understand their structure-property relationships to maximise their ability to be used in industrially relevant settings. This thesis aims to understand the mechanical and adsorption properties of a class of porous solids metal-organic frameworks (or MOFs), which have many potential applications owing to their tuneable structures. Due to the inherent 3-D crystalline structure of MOFs, a wide range crystallographic techniques were used to determine structure-property relationships. To achieve maximum in-depth structural knowledge, both classical and quantum theoretical approaches were also applied to complement the understanding of both the energetics and structural details. Chapters One and Two begin with an overview of the state of the art studies carried out on MOFs, focusing on the use of high-pressure crystallography to understand their properties. In addition, there is emphasise on the importance of complementary computational methods that are used in the characterisation of MOFs. In Chapter Three, an isostructural series of MOFs (zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, or ZIFs) were studied for methanol adsorption by employing both experimental and molecular simulation techniques. These frameworks are gating materials, where the imidazole linker rotates upon adsorption of guest, and it was found that through ligand substitution the gate opening angle and onset pressure to gating could be tuned. By using high-pressure Xray crystallography the structure of the ZIFs were studied upon the uptake of guest and the degree of ring rotation quantified. In combination with periodic DFT and grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations the energy barrier to rotation and energies of adsorption could be calculated, respectively. Chapter Four focuses on one ZIF in particular, ZIF-8 ((Zn6(MeIm)12, MeIm = 2- methylimidazole) and details the adsorption of a selection of gases into the pores. The experimental method of cryogenic gas loading into a diamond anvil cell in this chapter is novel to MOFs. This method, in combination with molecular crystallography, is used to determine the structural response of the framework to guest-uptake as well as the crystallographic positions of the adsorption sites. In combination with in silico methods, the adsorption energies of guest-sites could be calculated, detailing which interactions drive the gating behaviour. The method of cryogenic loading highlighted how extreme conditions can be used to extract useful information about structural behaviour of MOFs on uptake of gas molecules into the pores, and when used in combination with computational methods, we have a powerful tool to analyse both positions and energies of adsorption sites. With this information, progress can be made in developing MOFs to maximize favourable interactions and lead to the development of MOFs with better selective gas storage properties. Chapter Five focuses on the synthesis and characterisation of the physical properties of a series of Zr-containing MOFs, called UiO-MOFs. The high valency of Zr(IV) and 12-fold coordination of the metal cluster in these materials, are associated with high shear and bulk moduli, which surpass those of other MOFs. A combination of single-crystal nano-indentation, high-pressure X-ray diffraction studies, density functional theory (DFT) calculations, and first-principles molecular dynamics (MD) simulations were used to determine the compressibility, elasticity and hardness of these materials, whose mechanical robustness was correlated to their different structural features, in-particular, how using non-linear linkers between the metal clusters stabilises the framework to compression. Chapter Six expands upon the series of Zr-MOFs in Chapter Five, and looks at how the mechanical properties of these MOFs are affected upon increasing the linker length. The experimentally determined elastics modulus of one of the frameworks, UiO-sdc (Zr6O4(OH)4(sdc)6 where sdc =4,4’-stillbene dicarboxylate), was found to lie above those of other highly porous MOFs. In addition, the elastic modulus was found to decrease linearly as a function of increasing the linker length, extending the structure-property relationships determined in Chapter Five.