Understanding the Heat Transfer Performance of Zeolitic Imidazolate Frameworks upon Gas Adsorption by Molecular Dynamics Simulations

RH Cheng and W Wei and JC Zhang and S Li, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 127, 9390-9398 (2023).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.3c04372

Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) with ultrahigh specific surface area and porosity have emerged as promising nanoporous materials for gas separation, storage, and adsorption-driven thermal energy conversion systems such as adsorption heat pumps. However, an inadequate understanding of the thermal transport of MOFs with adsorbed gases hampers the thermal management of such systems in practical applications. In this work, an in-depth investigation on the mechanistic heat transfer performance of three topological zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) upon hydrogen, methane, and ethanol adsorption was carried out by molecular dynamics simulations. It is revealed that the trade-off between the additional heat transfer pathway and phonon scattering resulting from adsorbed gases determines the thermal conductivity of ZIFs. It is found that the increased thermal conductivity with the increased number of adsorbed gases is correlated with the overlap energy between the vibrational density of states of gases and Zn atoms, suggesting the additional heat transfer pathways formed between gas molecules and frameworks. Moreover, the gas spatial distribution and diffusion also impose remarkable impacts on the heat transfer performance. Both the homogeneous gas distribution and the fast gas diffusion are conducive to form effective heat transfer pathways, leading to enhanced thermal conductivity. This study provides molecular insight into the mechanism of the improved thermal conductivity of ZIFs upon gas adsorption, which may pave the way for effective thermal management in MOF-related applications.

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