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Mechanochemical synthesis of alkali metal hydrides at room temperature

Iowa State University and Ames Laboratory researchers have demonstrated a mechanochemical process to produce alkali metal hydrides at room temperature and moderate hydrogen gas pressure with quantitative yields. This process is rapid, inexpensive, and scalable.
Metal hydride synthesis typically involves either heating metals under a stream of hydrogen or employing transition metal catalysts and liquid hydrocarbons, thus requiring an additional purification step. This new method of production allows for the use of simple mechanochemical processes at ambient temperature and slightly elevated hydrogen pressures. Quantitative yields, short reaction times (depending on milling intensity and hydrogen pressure) and freedom from catalysts and solvent, this process should provide significant cost advantages versus traditional processing. In addition, this process is safer than traditional processes as there is no risk of hydrogen accumulation and explosion.
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