Skip to main content

Swell and Destroy: A Metal–Organic Framework-Containing Polymer Sponge That Immobilizes and Catalytically Degrades Nerve Agents

Holder, Simon J. (2020) Swell and Destroy: A Metal–Organic Framework-Containing Polymer Sponge That Immobilizes and Catalytically Degrades Nerve Agents. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 12 (7). pp. 8634-8641. ISSN 1944-8244. E-ISSN 1944-8252. (doi:10.1021/acsami.9b18478) (KAR id:82837)

PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Download (2MB) Preview
[thumbnail of pHIPEMOFaccepted.pdf]
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
Official URL


Organophosphorus chemical warfare agents function as potent neurotoxins. Whilst the destruction of nerve agents is most readily achieved by hydrolysis, their storage and transport are hazardous and lethal in milligram doses, with any spillage resulting in fatalities. Furthermore, current decontamination and remediation measures are limited by a need for stoichiometric reagents, solvents, and buffered solutions, complicating the process for the treatment of bulk contaminants. Herein, we report a composite polymer material capable of rendering bulk VX unusable by immobilization within a porous polymer until a metal–organic framework (MOF) catalyst fully hydrolyzes the neurotoxin. This is an all-in-one capability that minimizes the use of multiple reagents, facilitated by a porous high internal phase emulsion-based polystyrene monolith housing an active zirconia MOF catalyst (MOF-808); the porous polymer absorbs and immobilizes the liquid agents, while the MOF enables hydrolysis. The dichotomous hierarchy of porous materials facilitates the containment and rapid hydrolysis of VX (>80% degradation in 8 h) in the presence of excess H2O. This composite can further enable the hydrolysis of neat VX with reliance on ambient humidity (>95% in 11 days). Potentially, 4.5 kg of the composite can absorb, immobilize, and degrade the contents of a standard chemical drum/barrel (208 L, 55 gal) of the chemical warfare agent (CWA). We believe that this composite is the first example of what will be the go-to approach for CWA immobilization and degradation in the future. Furthermore, we believe that this demonstration of a catalytically reusable absorbent sponge provides a signpost for the development of similar materials where immobilization of a substrate in a catalytically active environment is desirable.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1021/acsami.9b18478
Uncontrolled keywords: porous polymers, polymer swelling, metal−organic frameworks, chemical warfare agents, composite materials
Subjects: Q Science
Q Science > QD Chemistry
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > School of Physical Sciences
Depositing User: Simon Holder
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2020 15:12 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:14 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Holder, Simon J.:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year