Propagating MOF flexibility at the macroscale: the case of MOF-based mechanical actuators
Shapeshifting materials have captured the imagination of researchers for their myriad potential applications, yet their practical development remains challenging. These materials operate by mechanical actuation: their structural responses to external stimuli generate mechanical work. Here, we review progress on the use of flexible metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) in composite actuators that shapeshift in a controlled fashion. We highlight the dynamic behaviour of flexible MOFs, which are unique among materials, even other porous ones, and introduce the concept of propagation, which involves the efficient transmission of flexible MOF deformations to the macroscale. Furthermore, we explain how researchers can observe, measure, and induce such effects in MOF composites. Next, we review pioneering first-generation MOF-composite actuators that shapeshift in response to changes in humidity, temperature, pressure, or to other stimuli. Finally, we allude to recent developments, identify remaining R & D hurdles, and suggest future directions in this field.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Emerging Trends in MOFs