A Nanocavitation Approach to Understanding Water Capture, Water Release, and Framework Physical Stability in Hierarchically Porous MOFs

19 July 2023, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Chemically-stable metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) featuring interconnected hierarchical pores have proven promising for a remarkable variety of applications. Nevertheless, framework susceptibility to capillary-force-induced pore collapse, especially during water evacuation, has often limited practical applications. Methodologies capable of predicting the relative magnitudes of these forces as functions of pore size, chemical composition of the pore walls, and fluid loading would be valuable for resolution of the pore collapse problem. Here, we report that a molecular simulation approach centering on evacuation-induced nanocavitation within fluids occupying MOF pores can yield the desired physical-force information. The computations can spatially pinpoint evacuation elements responsible for collapse and the chemical basis for mitigation of collapse of modified pores. Experimental isotherms and difference-electron-density measurements of the MOF NU-1000 and four chemical variants validate the computational approach and corroborate predictions regarding relative stability, anomalous sequence of pore-filling, and chemical basis for mitigation of destructive forces.


Hierarchically Porous MOFs
Framework Stability
Water Capture & Release
Difference Envelope Density (DED)
Molecular Dynamics Simulations


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