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Experimental and Modeling Study of Gas Adsorption in Metal-Organic Framework Coated on 3D Printed Plastics

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posted on 08.05.2020 by Tejesh Charles Dube

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) are a class of compounds consisting of metal ions or clusters coordinated to organic ligands in porous structure forms. MOFs have been proposed in use for gas adsorption, purification, and separation applications. This work combines MOFs with 3D printing technologies, in which 3D printed plastics serve as a mechanical structural support for MOFs powder, in order to realize a component design for gas adsorption. The objective of the thesis is to understand the gas adsorption behavior of MIL-101 (Cr) MOF coated on 3D printed PETG, a glycol modified version of polyethylene terephthalate, through a combined experimental and modeling study. The specific goals are: (1) synthesis of MIL-101 (Cr) MOFs; (2) nitrogen gas adsorption measurements and microstructure and phase characterization of the MOFs; (3) design and 3D printing of porous PETG substrate structures; (4) deposition of MOFs coating on the PETG substrates; and (5) Monte Carlo (MC) modeling of sorption isotherms of nitrogen and carbon dioxide in the MOFs.

The results show that pure MIL-101 (Cr) MOFs were successfully synthesized, as confirmed by the scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images and X-ray diffrac- tion (XRD), which are consistent with literature data. The Brunauer-Emmett-Teller (BET) surface area measurement shows that the MOFs samples have a high cover- age of nitrogen. The specific surface area of a typical MIL-101 (Cr) MOFs sample is 2716.83 m2/g. MIL-101 (Cr) also shows good uptake at low pressures in experimental tests for nitrogen adsorption. For the PETG substrate, disk-shape plastic samples with a controlled pore morphology were designed and fabricated using the fused de-

position modeling (FDM) process. MOFs were coated on the PETG substrates using a layer-by-layer (LbL) assembly approach, up to 30 layers. The MOFs coating layer thicknesses increase with the number of deposition layers. The computational model illustrates that the MOFs show increased outputs in adsorption of nitrogen as pres- sure increases, similar to the trend observed in the adsorption experiment. The model also shows promising results for carbon dioxide uptake at low pressures, and hence the developed MOFs based components would serve as a viable candidate in gas adsorption applications.


Degree Type

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering


Mechanical Engineering

Campus location


Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Jing Zhang

Additional Committee Member 2

Andres Tovar

Additional Committee Member 3

Xiaoliang Wei