Understanding gas adsorption selectivity in IRMOF‐8 using molecular simulation

Renjith S. Pillai, Moisés L. Pinto, João Pires, Miguel Jorge, José R. B. Gomes

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Grand canonical Monte Carlo simulations were used to explore the adsorption behavior of methane, ethane, ethylene, and carbon dioxide in isoreticular metal–organic frameworks, IRMOF-1, noninterpenetrated IRMOF-8, and interpenetrated IRMOF-8. The simulated isotherms are compared with experimentally measured isotherms, when available, and a good agreement is observed. In the case of IRMOF-8, the agreement is much better for the interpenetrated model than for the noninterpenetrated model, suggesting that the experimental data was obtained on an essentially interpenetrated structure. Simulations show that carbon dioxide is preferentially adsorbed over methane, and a selective adsorption at low pressures of ethane over ethylene, especially in the case of IRMOF-8, confirm recent experimental results. Analysis of simulation results on both the interpenetrated and the noninterpenetrated structures shows that interpenetration is responsible for the higher adsorbed amounts of ethane at low pressures (<100 kPa) and for the interesting selectivity for ethane in ethane/ethylene binary mixtures. Van der Waals interactions seem to be enhanced in the interpenetrated structure, favoring ethane adsorption. This indicates that interpenetrated MOF structures may be of interest for the separation of small gas molecules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-637
Number of pages15
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number1
Early online date18 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jan 2015


  • ethane/ethylene separation
  • carbon dioxide/methane separation
  • interpenetrated
  • metal organic frameworks
  • grand canonical Monte Carlo
  • gas adsorption


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