Avoiding pitfalls in molecular simulation of vapor sorption: Example of propane and isobutane in metal-organic frameworks for adsorption cooling applications

Filip Formalik, Haoyuan Chen, Randall Q. Snurr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study introduces recommendations for conducting molecular simulations of vapor adsorption, with an emphasis on enhancing the accuracy, reproducibility, and comparability of results. The first aspect we address is consistency in the implementation of some details of typical molecular models, including tail corrections and cutoff distances, due to their significant influence on generated data. We highlight the importance of explicitly calculating the saturation pressures at relevant temperatures using methods such as Gibbs ensemble Monte Carlo simulations and illustrate some pitfalls in extrapolating saturation pressures using this method. For grand canonical Monte Carlo (GCMC) simulations, the input fugacity is usually calculated using an equation of state, which often requires the critical parameters of the fluid. We show the importance of using critical parameters derived from the simulation with the same model to ensure internal consistency between the simulated explicit adsorbate phase and the implicit bulk phase in GCMC. We show the advantages of presenting isotherms on a relative pressure scale to facilitate easier comparison among models and with experiment. Extending these guidelines to a practical case study, we evaluate the performance of various isoreticular metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) in adsorption cooling applications. This includes examining the advantages of using propane and isobutane as working fluids and identifying MOFs with a superior performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number184118
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number18
StatePublished - May 14 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

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