Polymer Mechanochemistry: Manufacturing Is Now a Force to Be Reckoned With
Polymer mechanochemistry is an exciting, rapidly developing field however it lacks detailed studies on the link between lab-scale mechanical activation and how the chemistry will translate to the complex flows and forces experienced during fluid-based moulding and additive manufacturing techniques. This is especially important for polymers which are the functional material of choice for applications, such as organic electronics, biological scaffolds and drug delivery coatings, as there is the highest likelihood of mechanical activation. This review examines the most recent development in force-sensitive molecules known as mechanophores, re-categorising them by material phase and method of activation, discussing the forces involved in such flow systems and where activation may occur in relevant manufacturing processes. The overall finding of this review is that for real, practical and scalable industrial applications of these exciting mechanochemical materials, there must be a concurrent study of the forces experienced and their effect on the detailed chemistry.
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