Exploiting the gate opening effect in a flexible MOF for selective adsorption of propyne from C1/C2/C3 hydrocarbons†
The separation of propyne from light hydrocarbon mixtures is of technological importance but poses considerable technical challenges. This article reports on the potential of a flexible metal–organic framework [Cu(dhbc)2(4,4′-bipy)], with gate-opening characteristics, that exhibits adsorption selectivity in favor of propyne in a C1/C2/C3 mixture of hydrocarbons. The separation potential of the flexible MOF is established using a judicious combination of measurements of unary isotherms, IAST calculations of mixture adsorption equilibrium, transient breakthrough simulations, along with transient breakthrough experiments. Our multi-tier investigation strategy confirms that propyne can be selectively adsorbed from C1/C2/C3 hydrocarbons in fixed bed adsorbers that are commonly employed in the process industries.