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Stress-Based Model for the Breathing of Metal−Organic Frameworks

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posted on 23.12.2015, 18:49 by Alexander V. Neimark, François-Xavier Coudert, Anne Boutin, Alain H. Fuchs
Gas adsorption in pores of flexible metal−organic frameworks (MOF) induces elastic deformation and structural transitions associated with stepwise expansion and contraction of the material, known as breathing transitions between large pore (lp) and narrow pore (np) phases. We present here a simple yet instructive model for the physical mechanism of this enigmatic phenomenon considering the adsorption-induced stress exerted on the material as a stimulus that triggers breathing transitions. The proposed model implies that the structural transitions in MOFs occur when the stress reaches a certain critical threshold. We showcase this model by drawing on the example of Xe adsorption in MIL-53 (Al) at 220 K, which exhibits two consecutive hysteretic breathing transitions between lp and np phases. We also propose an explanation for the experimentally observed coexistence of np and lp phases in MIL-53 materials.