Mechanical Force and Catalysis

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Chemistry


Any force developed at the macroscopic scale can induce dramatic changes at the molecular scale, even breaking covalent bonds. Indeed, mechanical force is a formidable source of energy that, with its ability to distort, bend and stretch chemical bonds, is unique in the way it promotes chemical reactions. Although chemists have developed catalysts that can be controlled using various stimuli (pH, light, allostery), very few examples of mechanoactivated catalysts have been reported so far. This project aims at creating new types of force-activated catalysts.


10 25 50

Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509565/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1727347 Studentship EP/N509565/1 18/09/2016 31/03/2020 Robert Nixon
Description We aimed to develop an inactive organocatalyst that could be embedded in the centre of a polymer chain. Pulling on the polymer chain would exert mechanical force on the organocatalyst activating it. We were able to show that this worked though with an unexpected result where the molecule was activated through three different pathways concomitantly. We also developed other various potential organocatalysts for the same purpose with in-depth analyses of how they activated carried out.
Exploitation Route The results obtained here are of great interest for the field of mechanochemistry and will enable future work into the development of similar molecules for various purposes.
Sectors Chemicals