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Issue 18, 2013
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The historical development of mechanochemistry

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This paper reviews the history of mechanochemistry. It begins with prehistoric times, when reactions could be initiated during grinding and rubbing accidentally, and follows the main developments until recent results and current trends. There are very few records on mechanochemistry until the first systematic investigations by Spring and Lea at the end of the 19th century. For the next decades, mechanochemistry developed slowly; minerals, inorganic compounds, and polymers were the main subjects of investigation. The area became more organized in the 1960s, when several large groups were established and the first dedicated conferences were held. Mechanical alloying was invented in 1966 independently and it became a subject of intense research. Interaction between the two topics was established in the 1990s. In recent years, the mechanochemical synthesis of organic compounds was added to the main subjects and the invention of the atomic force microscope provided new ways to manipulate atoms and molecules by direct mechanical action. The theoretical explanation of mechanochemical phenomena is difficult, as the mechanism is system specific and several length and time scales are involved. Thiessen proposed the first theory, the magma–plasma model, in 1967, and deeper insight is being obtained by computer modelling combined with empirical work. Practical applications have been an important motivation throughout the history of mechanochemistry. It is used alone or in combination with other steps in an increasing number of technologies.

Graphical abstract: The historical development of mechanochemistry

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Article information

28 Oct 2012
First published
23 Jan 2013

Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013,42, 7649-7659
Article type
Review Article

The historical development of mechanochemistry

L. Takacs, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2013, 42, 7649
DOI: 10.1039/C2CS35442J

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