MOFs treated with hydroquinone found to be beneficial for air purification

Market Expertz   |     July 03, 2019


A research published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society confirms that introducing hydroquinone to a metal-organic framework can change its copper ions in a way that gives the material exceptional stability in water. Nak Cheon Jeong, Material Scientist, DGIST, has said that they have created a new method to improve the water stability of metal-organic frameworks, and their findings can be potentially applied to efficiently filter and purify the air from ultrafine dust without undergoing decomposition upon exposure to humidity.

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) comprise of metal ions bonded by organic links. Their assembly can result in the formation of internal cage-like structures, which gives the material a porous nature. They have a better surface area than other porous materials. These properties, combined with the ability of scientists to tune their structures, has led to them being employed in a wide variety of applications like catalysis, molecule separation, gas uptake, and drug delivery. Typically, MOFs decompose in the presence of humidity or after coming in contact with water, so researchers have been seeking ways to improve their durability. Jeong, with his team, discovered that treating a well-known copper-based MOF, HKUST-1, with hydroquinone at 80°C increased the stability of the product, preventing it from degradation even after weeks of submersion in water or upon two years of being exposed to humidity.

Copper ions and their organic links in the MOF HKUST-1 form large and small cages with metal ion nodes in the shape of paddlewheels. Typically, water molecules are attached to elements within the MOF and displace the bonds between the organic links and the copper ions and bring about the degradation of the material or transform into a non-porous solid. With this method, upon treatment with hydroquinone, the HKUST-1 becomes substantially stable in water. The researchers will undertake further studies to understand the process that leads to such improvement in the MOF’s stability in water and will explore the potential applications for their approach.

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