New Engineering Research Looks at Heat Transfer in Metal Organic Frameworks

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New research from an interdisciplinary team that includes the University of Pittsburgh examines heat transfer in metal organic frameworks and the role it plays when these frameworks are used for storing fuel. The research was published this summer in the journal Nature Communications.

In order to use them for fuel storage and other applications when gases are loaded quickly into metal organic frameworks, the frameworks would need to be kept cool. This research looked at thermal transport in the frameworks to explore how quickly they can shed excess heat, and the group found some surprising results: filling the frameworks with gas makes them more insulating. 

“By taking porous materials and filling them, thereby removing those gaps, you would expect the thermal transport to improve, making it more thermally conductive,” said co-author Christopher Wilmer, William Kepler Whiteford Faculty Fellow and associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. “The opposite happens; they become more insulating.”