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Mechanochemical breakthrough unlocks cheap, safe, powdered hydrogen

Mechanochemistry is a relatively recently coined term, referring to chemical reactions that are triggered by mechanical forces as opposed to heat, light, or electric potential differences. In this case, the mechanical force is supplied by ball milling ?" a low-energy grinding process in which a cylinder containing steel balls is rotated such that the balls roll up the side, then drop back down again, crushing and rolling over the material inside. The team has demonstrated that grinding certain amounts of certain powders with precise pressure levels of certain gases can trigger a mechanochemical reaction that absorbs the gas into the powder and stores it there, giving you what's essentially a solid-state storage medium that can hold the gases safely at room temperature until they're needed. The gases can be released as required, by heating the powder up to a certain point.