Researchers at the Energy Safety Research Institute (Swansea University) found a new useful way of using defects in the realm of the nanoporous material. They are investigating how the properties of metal-organic framework (a class of materials resembling microscopic sponges) can be adjusted by taking advantage of their defects to make them better at capturing CO2. They are full of empty space that can be used to trap contain gases. Additionally, their structure can be manipulated at the atomic level to make them selective to certain gases (CO2).
The metal-organic framework containing zirconium are special: they can withstand the loss of many linkages without collapsing. Defects will an opportunity to play with the properties of the material.
The Swansea University’s researchers team went on to investigate how defects take part in a process known as “post-synthetic exchange”, whereby a MOF is initially synthesized and then modified through an exchange of some components of its structure. The phenomenon was studied using nuclear magnetic resonance which is a characterization technique in chemistry. This played a huge role in understanding the true role of a defect in such processes.
The results from this study were published in the respected international journal Angewandte Chemie.
“We found that defects are very reactive sites within the structure of the MOF and that their modification affects the property of the material in a unique way.” said Dr Taddei “The fact that we did this by making extensive use of a technique that is easily accessible to any chemist around the globe is, in my opinion, one of the highlights of this work.”
This study not only proves the concept but also lays the foundation for future work. The team wants to learn how to chemically manipulative defective structures to develop new materials with enhanced performance for CO2 capture from steelworks waste gases.
“Reducing the CO2 emissions derived from energy production and industrial processes is imperative to prevent serious consequences on climate,” states co-author Dr. Enrico Andreoli, Senior Lecturer at Swansea University.