- Sieving di-branched from mono-branched and linear alkanes using ZIF-8: experimental proof and theoretical explanation
- Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
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We study the adsorption equilibrium isotherms and differential heats of adsorption of hexane isomers on the zeolitic imidazolate framework ZIF-8. The studies are carried out at 373 K using a manometric set-up combined with a micro-calorimeter. We see that the Langmuir model describes well the isotherms for all four isomers (n-hexane, 2-methylpentane, 2,2-dimethylbutane and 2,3-dimethylbutane). The linear and mono-branched isomers adsorb well, but 2,2-dimethylbutane is totally excluded. Plotting the differential heat of adsorption against the loading shows an initial plateau for n-hexane and 2-methylpentane. This is followed by a slow rise, indicating adsorbate-adsorbate interactions. For the di-branched isomers the differential heat of adsorption decreases with loading. To gain further insight, we ran molecular simulations using the grand-canonical Monte Carlo approach. Comparing the simulation and the experimental results shows that the ZIF framework model requires blocking of the cages, since 2,2-dimethylbutane cannot fit through the sodalite-type windows. Practically speaking, this means that ZIF-8 is a highly promising candidate for enhancing gasoline octane numbers at 373 K, as it can separate 2,2-dimethylbutane and 2,3-dimethylbutane from 2-methylpentane. Our results prove the potential of ZIF-8 as a new adsorbent that can be employed in the upgrade of the Total Isomerization Process for the production of high octane number gasoline, by blending di-branched alkanes in the gasoline.
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