Shake, shear, and grind! – the evolution of mechanoredox polymerization methodology
In the last half decade, mechanoredox catalysis has enabled an entirely new genre of polymerization methodology. In this paradigm, mechanical force, such as ultrasonic cavitation bubble collapse or ball mill grinding, polarizes piezoelectric nanoparticles; the resultant piezopotential drives the redox processes necessary for free- and controlled-radical polymerizations. Since being introduced, evolution of these methods facilitates exploration of mechanistic underpinnings behind key electron-transfer events. Mechanical force has not only been identified as a “greener” alternative to more traditional reaction stimuli (e.g., heat, light) for the synthesis of commodity polymers, but also a potential technology to enable the production of novel thermoplastic and thermoset materials that are either challenging, or even impossible, to access using conventional solution-state approaches. In this Feature Article, significant contributions to such methods are highlighted within. Advances and ongoing challenges in both ultrasound and ball milling driven reactions for radical polymerization and crosslinking are identified and discussed.
- This article is part of the themed collection: 2023 Emerging Investigators