Metal–organic frameworks based membranes for liquid separation
Metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) represent a fascinating class of solid crystalline materials which can be self-assembled in a straightforward manner by the coordination of metal ions or clusters with organic ligands. Owing to their intrinsic porous characteristics, unique chemical versatility and abundant functionalities, MOFs have received substantial attention for diverse industrial applications, including membrane separation. Exciting research activities ranging from fabrication strategies to separation applications of MOF-based membranes have appeared. Inspired by the marvelous achievements of MOF-based membranes in gas separations, liquid separations are also being explored for the purpose of constructing continuous MOFs membranes or MOF-based mixed matrix membranes. Although these are in an emerging stage of vigorous development, most efforts are directed towards improving the liquid separation efficiency with well-designed MOF-based membranes. Therefore, as an increasing trend in membrane separation, the field of MOF-based membranes for liquid separation is highlighted in this review. The criteria for judicious selection of MOFs in fabricating MOF-based membranes are given. Special attention is paid to rational design strategies for MOF-based membranes, along with the latest application progress in the area of liquid separations, such as pervaporation, water treatment, and organic solvent nanofiltration. Moreover, some attractive dual-function applications of MOF-based membranes in the removal of micropollutants, degradation, and antibacterial activity are also reviewed. Finally, we define the remaining challenges and future opportunities in this field. This Tutorial Review provides an overview and outlook for MOF-based membranes for liquid separations. Further development of MOF-based membranes for liquid separation must consider the demands of strict separation standards and environmental safety for industrial application.