A study of pore blockage in silicalite zeolite using free energy perturbation calculations

Amit Gupta, Randall Q. Snurr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Binary systems consisting of large coadsorbed molecules (n-hexane, cyclohexane, and benzene) with smaller penetrant molecules (methane) were simulated to investigate the mechanisms of pore blockage in the zeolite silicalite. Benzene and cyclohexane trap the methane molecules in the zeolite channels on the time scales of molecular dynamics simulations. Minimum energy paths for methane diffusion past the blocking molecules were determined, and free energy perturbation calculations were carried out along the paths to get the rate constants of methane hopping past coadsorbed benzene and cyclohexane molecules, which adsorb in the channel intersections. Three principal diffusion pathways were found in both the methane/benzene and methane/cyclohexane systems. Minima which were connected by low-energy pathways were grouped together into macrostates. Using the calculated hopping rates between macrostates, kinetic Monte Carlo was then used to obtain the diffusivity of methane with a coadsorbate benzene loading such that all channel intersections are filled by benzene -conditions where molecular dynamics simulations fail. Passage of methane across cyclohexane molecules involved pushing the cyclohexane molecules into the channels from their preferred channel intersection positions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1822-1833
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 10 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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