Mechanochemistry: a disruptive innovation for the industry of the future
Mechanochemistry is rapidly developing as a multidisciplinary science on the borderline between chemistry, materials science and environmental science. Experimentally, mechanochemical approaches offer the possibility to rapidly perform chemical reactions under solvent-free and ambient conditions, hence fulfilling several of the guidelines suggested by the principles of Green Chemistry.
It is also an effective tool for the formation of nanoparticles with applications in various research areas. In practice, mechanochemical techniques have proven effective in laboratory scale and strategies to scale them up have also been accomplished. Recently, the potential of mechanochemistry to ameliorate industrial chemical processes has been acknowledged at a European level with the approval of the COST Action CA18112 entitled Mechanochemistry for Sustainable Industry (MechSustInd). This article aims to provide a brief introduction into mechanochemistry, promote the said COST Action and to attract the attention of industrial partners.
WHAT IS MECHANOCHEMISTRY?
Mechanochemistry, as can be figured out from its name, encompasses chemistry and physico-chemical processes facilitated by the application of mechanical forces. IUPAC considers a mechanochemical reaction as a chemical reaction that is induced by the direct absorption of mechanical energy (1). Unlike conventional chemistry, it tries to ultimately, or at least partially, eliminate the utilization of toxic solvents. Moreover, the reactions can be performed at laboratory temperature and in much shorter time. All these benefits lead to a significantly positive environmental effect. Mechanochemistry is a multidisciplinary science standing on the interphase between chemistry, materials science and environmental sciences. Mechanochemical processes are applicable in various research fields, as will be briefly described later.
In a broad sense, mechanochemistry has been amongst us since the very beginnings of mankind, as any procedure applying shearing/friction can be considered mechanochemical processes, as e.g., making a fire by just banging two ston ...