What is it about?

What does water do inside channels of similar size but different hydrophilicity? We studied the behaviour of water in two porous host materials. The first one is zeolite L, which is hydrophilic. The second one is a metal organic framework, or MOF, which has pores of similar size, but less affinity to water.

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Why is it important?

We found that water stabilzes both materials. However, the shape of the water clusters depends on the affinity of the hosts to water. The hydrophobic host contains water rings, stabilized by water-water hydrogen bonds. The hydrophilic host contains a water tube, stabilized by interactions with the zeolite and by hydrogen bonds. We also found that, inside the zeolite channels, some water molecules are surrounded by five strong hydrogen bonds. This structure might explain the high proton activity found by experiments in zeolite L.


The information obtained on the water clusters inside the MOF could help to exploit this material as host matrix for new compounds. Zeolite L is an important material for solar cell applications, but proton activity inside the channels may give problems. Now we have identified a possible cause of the problem. This could be a first important step to improve the performances of these materials.

Gloria Tabacchi
university of insubria

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The Different Organization of Water in Zeolite L and Its MOF Mimic, February 2019, American Chemical Society (ACS),
DOI: 10.26434/chemrxiv.7761791.
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