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Mechanical Properties of a Metal–Organic Framework formed by Covalent Cross-Linking of Metal–Organic Polyhedra

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journal contribution
posted on 24.12.2018, 00:00 by Garima Lal, Maziar Derakhshandeh, Farid Akhtar, Denis M. Spasyuk, Jian-Bin Lin, Milana Trifkovic, George K. H. Shimizu
Overcoming the brittleness of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) is a challenge for industrial applications. To increase the mechanical strength, MOFs have been blended with polymers to form composites. However, this also brings challenges, such as integration and integrity of MOF in the composite, which can hamper the selectivity of gas separations. In this report, an “all MOF” material with mechanical flexibility has been prepared by covalent cross-linking of metal–organic polyhedra (MOPs). The ubiquitous Cu24 isophthalate MOP has been decorated with a long alkyl chain having terminal alkene functionalities so that MOPs can be cross-linked via olefin metathesis using Grubbs second generation catalyst. Different degrees of cross-linked MOP materials have been obtained by varying the amount of catalyst in the reaction. Rheology of these structures with varying number of cross-links was performed to assess the cross-link density and its homogeneity throughout the sample. The mechanical properties were further investigated by the nanoindentation method, which showed increasing hardness with higher cross-link density. Thus, this strategy of cross-linking MOPs with covalent flexible units allows us to create MOFs of increasing mechanical strength while retaining the MOP cavities.