Tailor-Made Microporous Metal-Organic Frameworks for the Full Separation of Propane from Propylene Through Selective Size Exclusion

Hao Wang, Xinglong Dong, Valentina Colombo, Qining Wang, Yanyao Liu, Wei Liu, Xin-Long Wang, Xiao-Ying Huang, Davide M. Proserpio, Angelo Sironi, Yu Han, Jing Li

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229 Scopus citations


Adsorptive separation of olefin/paraffin mixtures by porous solids can greatly reduce the energy consumption associated with the currently employed cryogenic distillation technique. Here, the complete separation of propane and propylene by a designer microporous metal-organic framework material is reported. The compound, Y6 (OH)8 (abtc)3 (H2 O)6 (DMA)2 (Y-abtc, abtc = 3,3',5,5'-azobenzene-tetracarboxylates; DMA = dimethylammonium), is rationally designed through topology-guided replacement of inorganic building units. Y-abtc is both thermally and hydrothermally robust, and possesses optimal pore window size for propane/propylene separation. It adsorbs propylene with fast kinetics under ambient temperature and pressure, but fully excludes propane, as a result of selective size exclusion. Multicomponent column breakthrough experiments confirm that polymer-grade propylene (99.5%) can be obtained by this process, demonstrating its true potential as an alternative sorbent for efficient separation of propane/propylene mixtures.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1805088
JournalAdvanced Materials
Issue number49
StatePublished - Oct 15 2018

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: The authors would like to thank the financial support from the Materials Sciences and Engineering Division, Office of Basic Research Energy Sciences of the U.S. Department of Energy under Grant No. DE-FG02-08ER-46491 for the synthesis, characterization, and single-component adsorption work. Y.H. acknowledges the KAUST CCF fund for the breakthrough experiments. The RU team would also like to acknowledge Micromeritics Instrument Corp. for the award of a 3Flex system through its Instrument Grant program. V.C thanks the University of Milan for partial funding through the Development Plan of Athenaeum grant.


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