Chem Sci. 2022 Nov 28;14(2):298-309. doi: 10.1039/d2sc05742e. eCollection 2023 Jan 4.
Propyne/propylene (C3H4/C3H6) separation is an important industrial process yet challenged by the trade-off of selectivity and capacity due to the molecular similarity. Herein, record C3H4/C3H6 separation performance is achieved by fine tuning the pore structure in anion pillared MOFs. SIFSIX-Cu-TPA (ZNU-2-Si) displays a benchmark C3H4 capacity (106/188 cm3 g-1 at 0.01/1 bar and 298 K), excellent C3H4/C3H6 IAST selectivity (14.6-19.3) and kinetic selectivity, and record high C3H4/C3H6 (10/90) separation potential (36.2 mol kg-1). The practical C3H4/C3H6 separation performance is fully demonstrated by breakthroughs under various conditions. 37.8 and 52.9 mol kg-1 of polymer grade C3H6 can be produced from 10/90 and 1/99 C3H4/C3H6 mixtures. 4.7 mol kg-1 of >99% purity C3H4 can be recovered by a stepped desorption process. Based on the in situ single crystal analysis and DFT calculation, an unprecedented entropy-enthalpy balanced adsorption pathway is discovered. MD simulation further confirmed the thermodynamic-kinetic synergistic separation of C3H4/C3H6 in ZNU-2-Si.