What are MOFs?
MOFs are crystalline, sponge-like materials composed of two components: metal ions and organic molecules known as linkers. The choice of metal and linker has significant effects on the structure and properties of the particular MOF.
MOFs have broad industrial applications because of two key attributes: their extremely large surface-areas and the flexibility with which their structures can be varied. They are also very robust, with high mechanical and thermal stabilities.
MOFs have the highest surface-areas of any known materials. One gram of MOF material (about the size of a pea) can have a surface area of up to forty tennis courts. They also have very low bulk volumes - most of the material is free-space, making them extremely light.
This incredibly high surface area means that MOFs are very good at storing gases. There are an abundance of sites where gas molecules can adsorb ("stick") to the material. MOFs are therefore ideally suited to high-density storage of a range of gases, including methane (natural gas) and hydrogen.
- Gas Storage
- Emerging Applications
The porosity of MOFs mean that they can be used to filter and separate gases, an extremely common and important industrial process.
By choosing the appropriate building blocks, the structure of specific MOFs can be designed to capture certain gases and chemicals, while letting others pass through.
- Carbon Capture