Temperature and Loading-Dependent Diffusion of Light Hydrocarbons in ZIF-8 as Predicted Through Fully Flexible Molecular Simulations

RJ Verploegh and S Nair and DS Sholl, JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CHEMICAL SOCIETY, 137, 15760-15771 (2015).

DOI: 10.1021/jacs.5b08746

Accurate and efficient predictions of hydrocarbon diffusivities in zeolitic imidazolate frameworks (ZIFs) are challenging, due to the small pore size of materials such as ZIF-8 and the wide range of diffusion time scales of hydrocarbon molecules in ZIFs. Here we have computationally measured the hopping rates of 15 different molecules (kinetic diameters of 2.66-5.10 angstrom) in ZIF-8 via dynamically corrected transition state theory (dcTST). Umbrella sampling combined with the one-dimensional weighted histogram analysis method (WHAM) was used to calculate the diffusion free energy barriers. Both the umbrella sampling and dynamical correction calculations included ZIF-8 flexibility, which is found to be critical in accurately describing molecular diffusion in this material. Comparison of the computed diffusivities to extant experimental results shows remarkable agreement within an order of magnitude for all the molecules. The dcTST method was also applied to study the effect of hydrocarbon loadings. Self and transport diffusion coefficients of methane, ethane, ethylene, propane, propylene, n-butane, and 1-butene in ZIP-8 are reported over a temperature range of 0-150 degrees C and loadings from infinite dilution to liquid-like loadings.

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