Incorporating Flexibility Effects into Metal-Organic Framework Adsorption Simulations Using Different Models

ZZ Yu and DM Anstine and SE Boulfelfel and CK Gu and CM Colina and DS Sholl, ACS APPLIED MATERIALS & INTERFACES (2021).

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.1c20583

High-throughput calculations based on molecular simulations to predict the adsorption of molecules inside metal- organic frameworks (MOFs) have become a useful complement to experimental efforts to identify promising adsorbents for chemical separations and storage. For computational convenience, all existing efforts of this kind have relied on simulations in which the MOF is approximated as rigid. In this paper, we use extensive adsorption-relaxation simulations that fully include MOF flexibility effects to explore the validity of the rigid framework approximation. We also examine the accuracy of several approximate methods to incorporate framework flexibility that are more computationally efficient than adsorption-relaxation calculations. We first benchmark various models of MOF flexibility for four MOFs with well-established CO2 experimental consensus isotherms. We then consider a range of adsorption properties, including Henry's constants, nondilute loadings, and adsorption selectivity, for seven adsorbates in 15 MOFs randomly selected from the CoRE MOF database. Our results indicate that in many MOFs adsorption-relaxation simulations are necessary to make quantitative predictions of adsorption, particularly for adsorption at dilute concentrations, although more standard calculations based on rigid structures can provide useful information. Finally, we investigate whether a correlation exists between the elastic properties of empty MOFs and the importance of including framework flexibility in making accurate predictions of molecular adsorption. Our results did not identify a simple correlation of this type.

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