Induction-heated ball-milling: a promising asset for mechanochemical reactions


While ball-milling is becoming one of the common tools used by synthetic chemists, an increasing number of studies highlight that it is possible to further expand the nature and number of products which can be synthesized, by heating the reaction media during mechanochemical reactions. Hence, developing set-ups enabling to combine heating and milling is an important target, which has been looked into in both academic and industrial laboratories. Here, we report a new approach for heating up reaction media during ball-milling reactions, using induction heating (referred to as i-BM). Our set-up is highly attractive not only because it enables a very fast heating of the milling medium (reaching ≈80 °C in just 15 s), and that it is directly adaptable to commercially-available milling equipment, but also because it enables heating either the walls of the milling jars or the beads themselves, depending on the choice of the materials which compose them. Importantly, the possibility to heat a milling medium “from the inside” (when using for example a PMMA jar and stainless steel beads) is a unique feature compared to previously proposed systems. Through extensive numerical simulations, we then show that it is possible to finely tune the properties of this heating system (e.g. heating rate and maximum temperature reached), by playing with the characteristics of the milling system and/or the induction heating conditions used. Lastly, examples of applications of i-BM are given, showing how it can be used to help elucidate reaction mechanisms in ball-milling, to synthesize new molecules, and to control the physical nature of milling media.


Supplementary material

Supporting Information
Details on induction-ball milling apparatus, simulations and synthetic protocols
Effect of induction ball milling on "snow-balls"
Movie showing the formation of a snow-ball by ball-milling, and its subsequent "melting" using induction ball-milling