April 22, 2020
Journal Article

Chemically Active, Porous 3D-Printed Thermoplastic Composites

Rebecca Erikson
Kent Evans
Zachary Kennedy
Satish Nune
Josef Christ


Metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) exhibit exceptional properties and are widely investigated because of their structural and functional versatility relevant to catalysis, separations, and sensing applications. However, their commercial or large-scale application is often limited by their powder forms. To address this, we report the production of MOF-thermoplastic polymer composites accessed via a standard 3D printer. MOFs (Zeolitic imidazolate framework; ZIF-8) were successfully incorporated homogeneously into both poly(lactic acid) (PLA) and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) matrices, extruded into filaments, and utilized for on-demand access to 3D structures by fused-deposition modeling. Printed rigid PLA-MOF composites displayed good structural integrity, high surface area ((SA)avg = 531 m2 g-1) and hierarchical pore features. Flexible TPU-MOF composites (SAavg = 706 m2 g-1) were achieved by employing a sacrificial fluoropolymer readily removed post-printing. Critically, embedded particles in the plastic matrices retain their ability to participate in chemical interactions characteristic of the parent MOF. The fabrication strategies can be extended to other MOFs and illustrate the potential of 3D printing to create unique porous and high surface area chemically-active structures.

Revised: April 22, 2020 | Published: January 31, 2018


Evans K.A., Z.C. Kennedy, B.W. Arey, J.F. Christ, H.T. Schaef, S.K. Nune, and R.L. Erikson. 2018. "Chemically Active, Porous 3D-Printed Thermoplastic Composites." ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces 10, no. 17:15112-15121. PNNL-SA-129492. doi:10.1021/acsami.7b17565