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Adsorptive Separation of Geometric Isomers of 2‑Butene on Gallate-Based Metal–Organic Frameworks

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journal contribution
posted on 14.02.2020, 16:39 by Jie Chen, Jiawei Wang, Lidong Guo, Liangying Li, Qiwei Yang, Zhiguo Zhang, Yiwen Yang, Zongbi Bao, Qilong Ren
The separation of mixed C4 olefins is a highly energy-intensive operation in the chemical industry due to the close boiling points of the unsaturated C4 isomers. In particular, the separation of trans/cis-2-butene is among the most challenging separation processes for geometric isomers and is of prime importance to increase the added value of C4 olefins. In this work, we report a series of isostructural gallate-based metal–organic frameworks (MOFs), namely, M-gallate (M = Ni, Mg, Co), featuring oval-shaped pores, that are ideally suitable for shape-selective separation of trans/cis-2-butene through their differentiation in minimum molecular cross-section size. Significantly, Mg-gallate displays a record high trans/cis-2-butene uptake selectivity of 3.19 at 298 K, 1.0 bar in single-component adsorption isotherms. These gallate-based MOFs not only exhibit the highest selectivity for trans/cis-2-butene separation but also accomplish a highly efficient separation of 1,3-butadiene, 1-butene, and iso-butene. DFT-D study shows that Mg-gallate interacts strongly with trans-2-butene and 1,3-butadiene along with short distances of C···H–O cooperative supramolecular interaction of 2.57–2.83 and 2.45–2.79 Å, respectively. In breakthrough experiments, Mg-gallate not only displays prominent separation performance for trans/cis-2-butene but also realizes the clean separation of a ternary mixture of 1,3-butadiene/1-butene/iso-butene and a binary mixture of 1-butene/iso-butene. This work indicates that M-gallate are industrially promising materials for adsorption separation of geometric isomers of C4 hydrocarbons.

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