Intrinsic flexibility of porous materials; Theory, modelling and the flexibility window of the EMT zeolite framework

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Abstract

Framework materials have structures containing strongly bonded polyhedral groups of atoms connected through their vertices. Typically the energy cost for variations of the inter-polyhedral geometry is much less than the cost of distortions of the polyhedra themselves-as in the case of silicates, where the geometry of the SiO4 tetrahedral group is much more strongly constrained than the Si-O-Si bridging angle. As a result, framework materials frequently display intrinsic flexibility, and their dynamic and static properties are strongly influenced by low-energy collective motions of the polyhedra. Insight into these motions can be obtained in reciprocal space through the 'rigid unit mode' (RUM) model, and in real-space through template-based geometric simulations. We briefly review the framework flexibility phenomena in energy-relevant materials, including ionic conductors, perovskites and zeolites. In particular we examine the 'flexibility window' phenomenon in zeolites and present novel results on the flexibility window of the EMT framework, which shed light on the role of structure-directing agents. Our key finding is that the crown ether, despite its steric bulk, does not limit the geometric flexibility of the framework.

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Fletcher, R. E., Wells, S. A., Leung, K. M., Edwards, P. P., & Sartbaeva, A. (2015). Intrinsic flexibility of porous materials; Theory, modelling and the flexibility window of the EMT zeolite framework. Acta Crystallographica Section B: Structural Science, Crystal Engineering and Materials, 71, 641–647. https://doi.org/10.1107/S2052520615018739

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