Scalable continuous solvothermal synthesis of metal organic framework (MOF-5) crystals

McKinstry, Colin and Cathcart, Russell J. and Cussen, Edmund J. and Fletcher, Ashleigh J. and Patwardhan, Siddharth V. and Sefcik, Jan (2016) Scalable continuous solvothermal synthesis of metal organic framework (MOF-5) crystals. Chemical Engineering Journal, 285. pp. 718-725. ISSN 1385-8947 (

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Metal-organic frameworks (MOF)s are well suited as nanoporous materials for applications such as gas storage, catalysis and in medical devices. Literature predominantly covers information on the batch synthesis of MOF-5, however, for an industrially viable product to be formed, bridging the gap to scalable continuous processing is essential. Here, we show that crystals of MOF-5 can be formed in a scalable solvothermal continuous process with a maximum space time yield of nearly 1000 kg m-3 day-1. Analysis of the solid output as a function of time, in conjunction with variation of concentration of the feed supply, shows high purity MOF-5 is produced using a continuous system, with potentially high throughput on scale up. We also show that the output can be increased by increasing the concentration of reactants in the system, albeit resulting in a reduced surface area. The two most common solvents currently used for MOF-5 production are also compared to identify a more economically viable process.