Zirconium, atomic number 40 in the periodic table, is a silvery metal that exhibits remarkable strength and thermal stability. It is not corroded by acids, alkalis or sea water, and it has been observed in stars like our own Sun and the Moon, as well as in lunar rocks. Zirconium is also the raw material for the electroceramics lead zirconate titanate (PZT), which is used in oxygen sensors and fuel cell membranes.
In a recent study, we investigated the compaction properties of MOF-801, a small-pore zirconium-based metal-organic framework containing fumaric acid as a linker. Dry-mixed MOF-801 powder was compressed either neat or in the presence of a range of binders (sucrose, polyvinylalcohol and polyvinylbutyral) at various pressures and for different times. Pellets synthesised by compressing the MOF at 146 MPa for 15 s were found to be robust and durable. They retained up to 90% of the original pore volume and displayed unaffected sorption performance after ten cycles of decompression.
We characterised the MOF-801 pellets by powder X-ray diffraction and scanning electron microscopy. The X-ray diffraction patterns were obtained on a Bruker D8 Avance diffractometer operating in reflection geometry. The SEM micrographs of the pellets are shown in the figures below. The authors wish to thank the staff at EMSL for support with the instrumentation.