M. Waroquier

Light Olefin Diffusion during the MTO Process on H-SAPO-34: a Complex Interplay of Molecular Factors

P. Cnudde, R. Demuynck, S. Vandenbrande, M. Waroquier, G. Sastre, V. Van Speybroeck
JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society)
142 (13), 6007-6017
2020
A1

Abstract 

The methanol-to-olefins process over H-SAPO-34 is characterized by its high shape selectivity toward light olefins. The catalyst is a supramolecular system consisting of nanometer-sized inorganic cages, decorated by Brønsted acid sites, in which organic compounds, mostly methylated benzene species, are trapped. These hydrocarbon pool species are essential to catalyze the methanol conversion but may also clog the pores. As such, diffusion of ethene and propene plays an essential role in determining the ultimate product selectivity. Enhanced sampling molecular dynamics simulations based on either force fields or density functional theory are used to determine how molecular factors influence the diffusion of light olefins through the 8-ring windows of H-SAPO-34. Our simulations show that diffusion through the 8-ring in general is a hindered process, corresponding to a hopping event of the diffusing molecule between neighboring cages. The loading of different methanol, alkene, and aromatic species in the cages may substantially slow down or facilitate the diffusion process. The presence of Brønsted acid sites in the 8-ring enhances the diffusion process due to the formation of a favorable π-complex host–guest interaction. Aromatic hydrocarbon pool species severely hinder the diffusion and their spatial distribution in the zeolite crystal may have a significant effect on the product selectivity. Herein, we unveil how molecular factors influence the diffusion of light olefins in a complex environment with confined hydrocarbon pool species, high olefin loadings, and the presence of acid sites by means of enhanced molecular dynamics simulations under operating conditions.

Ab Initio Study of Poly(vinyl chloride) Propagation Kinetics: Head-to-Head versus Head-to-Tail Additions

K. Van Cauter, V. Van Speybroeck, M. Waroquier
ChemPhysChem
8, 541-552
2007
A1

Abstract 

The relative importance of head-to-head versus head-to-tail addi-tions during the free-radical polymerization of vinyl chloride isdetermined by ab initio methods for different chain lengths ofthe polymer. First, a level of theory study is performed to deter-mine cost-effective methods for the ab initio description of thepropagation kinetics of vinyl chloride. The study includes the fol-lowing DFT-based methods: B3LYP, B3PW91, BHandH, BHandH-LYP, BLYP, BP86, MPW1K and MPW1PW91, in combination withdouble or triple zeta basis sets 6-31G(d) and 6-311GACHTUNGTRENNUNG(d,p). Also,the more recently developed BMK and MPW1K functionals are in-cluded. The influence of diffuse functions is tested by comparisonwith the basis sets 6-31+G(d) and 6-311++GACHTUNGTRENNUNG(3df,2p). The best-performing methods are B3LYP, B3PW91 and MPW1K combinedwith the 6-31+G(d) basis set. The converged probability of head-to-head propagation (2 per 1000 monomer units) is put into rela-tion with the experimental concentrations of defect structures. Acomparison is made with the head-to-head (HH) content of fluo-rine-substituted polymers and poly(vinyl acetate). The ab initiocalculations correctly predict the relative sequence of HH contentamong the various polymers.

Open Access version available at UGent repository

Unraveling the thermodynamic criteria for size-dependent spontaneous phase separation in soft porous crystals

S.M.J. Rogge, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Nature Communications
10, 4842
2019
A1

Abstract 

Soft porous crystals (SPCs) harbor a great potential as functional nanoporous materials owing to their stimuli-induced and tuneable morphing between different crystalline phases. These large-amplitude phase transitions are often assumed to occur cooperatively throughout the whole material, which thereby retains its perfect crystalline order. Here, we disprove this paradigm through mesoscale first-principles based molecular dynamics simulations, demonstrating that morphological transitions do induce spatial disorder under the form of interfacial defects and give rise to yet unidentified phase coexistence within a given sample. We hypothesize that this phase coexistence can be stabilized by carefully tuning the experimental control variables through, e.g., temperature or pressure quenching. The observed spatial disorder helps to rationalize yet elusive phenomena in SPCs, such as the impact of crystal downsizing on their flexible nature, thereby identifying the crystal size as a crucial design parameter for stimuli-responsive devices based on SPC nanoparticles and thin films.

Gold Open Access

A Supramolecular View on the Cooperative Role of Brønsted andLewis Acid Sites in Zeolites for Methanol Conversion

S. Bailleul, I. Yarulina, A.E.J. Hoffman, A. Dokania, E. Abou-Hamad, A. Dutta Chowdhury, G. Pieters, J. Hajek, K. De Wispelaere, M. Waroquier, J. Gascon, V. Van Speybroeck
JACS (Journal of the American Chemical Society)
141 (37), 14823-14842
2019
A1

Abstract 

A systematic molecular level and spectroscopic investigation is presented to show the cooperative role of Brønsted acid and Lewis acid sites in zeolites for the conversion of methanol. Extra-framework alkaline-earth metal containing species and aluminum species decrease the number of Brønsted acid sites, as protonated metal clusters are formed. A combined experimental and theoretical effort shows that postsynthetically modified ZSM-5 zeolites, by incorporation of extra-framework alkaline-earth metals or by demetalation with dealuminating agents, contain both mononuclear [MOH]+ and double protonated binuclear metal clusters [M(μ-OH)2M]2+ (M = Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, and HOAl). The metal in the extra-framework clusters has a Lewis acid character, which is confirmed experimentally and theoretically by IR spectra of adsorbed pyridine. The strength of the Lewis acid sites (Mg > Ca > Sr > Ba) was characterized by a blue shift of characteristic IR peaks, thus offering a tool to sample Lewis acidity experimentally. The incorporation of extra-framework Lewis acid sites has a substantial influence on the reactivity of propene and benzene methylations. Alkaline-earth Lewis acid sites yield increased benzene methylation barriers and destabilization of typical aromatic intermediates, whereas propene methylation routes are less affected. The effect on the catalytic function is especially induced by the double protonated binuclear species. Overall, the extra-framework metal clusters have a dual effect on the catalytic function. By reducing the number of Brønsted acid sites and suppressing typical catalytic reactions in which aromatics are involved, an optimal propene selectivity and increased lifetime for methanol conversion over zeolites is obtained. The combined experimental and theoretical approach gives a unique insight into the nature of the supramolecular zeolite catalyst for methanol conversion which can be meticulously tuned by subtle interplay of Brønsted and Lewis acid sites.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Dynamic interplay between defective UiO-66 and protic solvents in activated processes

C. Caratelli, J. Hajek, E.J. Meijer, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Chemistry - A European Journal
25 (67), 15315-15325
2019
A1

Abstract 

UiO‐66, composed by Zr‐oxide inorganic bricks [Zr6(μ3‐O)4(μ3‐OH)4] and organic terephthalate linkers, is one of the most studied metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) due to its exceptional thermal, chemical, and mechanical stability. Thanks to its high connectivity, the material can withstand structural deformations during activation processes such as linker exchange, dehydration, and defect formation. These processes do alter the zirconium coordination number in a dynamic way, creating open metal sites for catalysis and thus are able to tune the catalytic properties. In this work, it is shown, by means of first‐principle molecular‐dynamics simulations at operating conditions, how protic solvents may facilitate such changes in the metal coordination. Solvent can induce structural rearrangements in the material that can lead to undercoordinated but also overcoordinated metal sites. This is demonstrated by simulating activation processes along well‐chosen collective variables. Such enhanced MD simulations are able to track the intrinsic dynamics of the framework at realistic conditions.

Pillared-layered metal-organic frameworks for mechanical energy storage applications

J. Wieme, S.M.J. Rogge, P.G. Yot, L. Vanduyfhuys, S.-K. Lee, J.-S. Chang, M. Waroquier, G. Maurin, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Materials Chemistry A
7 (39), 22663-22674
2019
A1

Abstract 

Herein we explore the unique potential of pillared-layered metal–organic frameworks of the DMOF-1 family for mechanical energy storage applications. In this work, we theoretically predict for the guest-free DMOF-1 a new contracted phase by exerting an external mechanical pressure of more than 200 MPa with respect to the stable phase at atmospheric pressure. The breathing transition is accompanied by a very large volume contraction of about 40%. The high transition pressures and associated volume changes make these materials highly promising with an outstanding mechanical energy work. Furthermore, we show that changing the nature of the metal allows to tune the behavior under mechanical pressure. The various phases were revealed by a combination of periodic density-functional theory calculations, force field molecular dynamics simulations and mercury intrusion experiments for DMOF-1(Zn) and DMOF-1(Cu). The combined experimental and theoretical approach allowed to discover the potential of these materials for new technological developments.

Gold Open Access

On the importance of anharmonicities and nuclear quantum effects in modelling the structural properties and thermal expansion of MOF-5

A. Lamaire, J. Wieme, S.M.J. Rogge, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck
Journal of Chemical Physics
150 (9), 094503
2019
A1

Abstract 

In this article, we investigate the influence of anharmonicities and nuclear quantum effects (NQEs) in modelling the structural properties and thermal expansion of the empty MOF-5 metal-organic framework. To introduce NQEs in classical molecular dynamics simulations, two different methodologies are considered, comparing the approximate, but computationally cheap, method of generalised Langevin equation thermostatting to the more advanced, computationally demanding path integral molecular dynamics technique. For both methodologies, similar results were obtained for all the properties under investigation. The structural properties of MOF-5, probed by means of radial distribution functions (RDFs), show some distinct differences with respect to a classical description. Besides a broadening of the RDF peaks under the influence of quantum fluctuations, a different temperature dependence is also observed due to a dominant zero-point energy (ZPE) contribution. For the thermal expansion of MOF-5, by contrast, NQEs appear to be only of secondary importance with respect to an adequate modelling of the anharmonicities of the potential energy surface (PES), as demonstrated by the use of two differently parametrised force fields. Despite the small effect in the temperature dependence of the volume of MOF-5, NQEs do however significantly affect the absolute volume of MOF-5, in which the ZPE resulting from the intertwining of NQEs and anharmonicities plays a crucial role. A sufficiently accurate description of the PES is therefore prerequisite when modelling NQEs.

Modeling Gas Adsorption in Flexible Metal–Organic Frameworks via Hybrid Monte Carlo / Molecular Dynamics Schemes

S.M.J. Rogge, R. Goeminne, R. Demuynck, J.J. Gutiérrez-Sevillano, S. Vandenbrande, L. Vanduyfhuys, M. Waroquier, T. Verstraelen, V. Van Speybroeck
Advanced Theory and Simulations
2 (4), 1800177
2019
A1

Abstract 

Herein, a hybrid Monte Carlo (MC)/molecular dynamics (MD) simulation protocol that properly accounts for the extraordinary structural flexibility of metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) is developed and validated. This is vital to accurately predict gas adsorption isotherms and guest‐induced flexibility of these materials. First, the performance of three recent models to predict adsorption isotherms and flexibility in MOFs is critically investigated. While these methods succeed in providing qualitative insight in the gas adsorption process in MOFs, their accuracy remains limited as the intrinsic flexibility of these materials is very hard to account for. To overcome this challenge, a hybrid MC/MD simulation protocol that is specifically designed to handle the flexibility of the adsorbent, including the shape flexibility, is introduced, thereby unifying the strengths of the previous models. It is demonstrated that the application of this new protocol to the adsorption of neon, argon, xenon, methane, and carbon dioxide in MIL‐53(Al), a prototypical flexible MOF, substantially decreases the inaccuracy of the obtained adsorption isotherms and predicted guest‐induced flexibility. As a result, this method is ideally suited to rationalize the adsorption performance of flexible nanoporous materials at the molecular level, paving the way for the conscious design of MOFs as industrial adsorbents.

Gold Open Access

Ab initio evaluation of Henry coefficients using importance sampling

S. Vandenbrande, M. Waroquier, V. Van Speybroeck, T. Verstraelen
Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation
14 (12), 6359–6369
2018
A1

Abstract 

We present a new algorithm that allows for an efficient evaluation of the Henry coefficient of a guest molecule inside a porous material, which permits to use ab initio energy calculations. The Widom insertion method, which is currently used to compute these Henry coefficients, typically requires millions of energy evaluations. Our new methodology reduces this number by more than 1 order of magnitude, enabling the use of an ab initio potential energy surface. The methodology we propose is reminiscent of the well-known importance sampling technique which is frequently used in Monte Carlo integrations. First, a conventional Widom insertion simulation is performed using a force field. In the second step, the Widom results are used to select a limited number of configurations and only for these configurations the ab initio evaluation of the energy is required. Finally, by appropriately reweighting the latter energies, an accurate estimation of the ab initio Henry coefficient is possible at a moderate computational cost. We apply our methodology to the adsorption of CO2 in Mg-MOF-74, a prototypical case where interactions of a polar guest molecule with unsaturated metal sites dominate the adsorption mechanism. In this case generic force fields such as UFF or Dreiding are inappropriate and the use of ab initio methods is indispensable. In a second case study, we compute Henry coefficients of methane in UiO-66 using different levels of theory. We pay particular attention to the influence of the dispersion corrections and the role of many-body effects. For the final example, we qualitatively investigate adsorption features for a series of functionalized UiO-66 frameworks. Overall the cases we present show that accurate computations of Henry coefficients is extremely challenging, as different levels of theory provide strongly varying results. At the same time ab initio calculations have added value compared to force fields, as they provide a physically more sound description of the adsorption mechanism and in some cases clearly improve correspondence with experiment.

Open Access version available at UGent repository
Gold Open Access

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - M. Waroquier