Novel materials for water desalination: metal organic frameworks as adsorbents


Principal investigator



Rapid increase in population has resulted in higher demand for potable water. In addition, the climate change has significantly affected the availability of drinkable water all around the world. Desalination (separation of salts from water) is a potential low-cost technique that can produce potable water. Recently, several novel materials have been investigated to produce clean water by the adsorption of dissolved salts. Regeneration of the adsorbent and its long-term stability are the main challenges in the adsorption desalination technology. Here, we aim at down-selecting metal organic frameworks (MOFs) based on their stability in water. MOFs are a new family of materials and possess high surface areas and tuneable pore sizes. Next, we synthesise the selected MOF (in particle form) and study its water stability as described in the background literature. Finally, the salt adsorption behaviour and regeneration of the adsorbent (i.e MOF particles) will be investigated.



We aim at answering the following research questions experimentally:

  • How to synthesise the MOFs sustainably?
  • What is the level of water stability for the selected MOF?
  • What is the effect of adsorbent regeneration of the efficacy of the selected MOF?


  • Interest in materials engineering and characterisation
  • Desire to learn new experimental methods
  • Good communication skills

Background Literature

The following scientific papers are suggested for further study:

  • A sunlight-responsive metal–organic framework system for sustainable water desalination, Nature Sustainability, 3 (2020) 1052–1058
  • Water stability of cobalt doped ZIF-8: a quantitative study using optical analyses, Materials Today Chemistry, 16 (2020) 100231
  • Photo-accelerated Hydrolysis of Metal Organic Framework ZIF-8, ACS Materials Letter 3 (2021) 255–260


materials characterisation; metal organic frameworks; water desalination; water stability

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