Melting of zeolitic imidazolate frameworks with different topologies: insight from first-principles molecular dynamics

Metal–organic frameworks are chemically versatile materials, and excellent candidates for many applications from carbon capture to drug delivery, through hydrogen storage. While most studies so far focus on the crystalline MOFs, there has been a recent shift to the study of their disordered states, such as defective structures, glasses, gels, and very recently liquid MOFs. Following the publication of the melting mechanism of zeolitic imidazolate framework ZIF-4, we use here molecular simulation in order to investigate the similarities and differences with two other zeolitic imidazolate frameworks, ZIF-8 and ZIF-zni. We perform first principles molecular dynamics simulations to study the melting phenomena and the nature of the liquids obtained, focusing on structural characterization at the molecular scale, dynamics of the species, and thermodynamics of the solid–liquid transition. We show how the retention of chemical configuration, the changes in the coordination network, and the variation of the porous volume in the liquid phase are influenced by the parent crystalline framework.<br>