The International Mechanochemical Association

Ideally, the International Mechanochemical Association (IMA) is the legacy of chemists, physicists and engineers who devoted part of their lives, during the early years of the second half of 1900, to the physical and chemical effects stemming from the application of mechanical forces to solids.

It has its deepest roots in evocative places in Asia and East Europe. It was in 1968 that researchers interested in mechanochemistry first met at the Soviet-German Conference on Mechanoemission and Mechanochemistry held in Frunze, now Bishkek, the capital of the Kyrgyz Republic, originally a caravan rest stop along one of the Northern branches of the ancient Silk Road at the foot of the Alatau Mountains.

Corroborated by the series of Japan-Soviet Symposium on Mechanochemistry, held first in 1986, the series of Soviet-German Conference on Mechanoemission and Mechanochemistry was accompanied by the series of the International Symposium on Theoretical and Technological Aspects of Comminution and Mechanical Activation of Minerals (TATARAMAN). Initiated in 1972 by the Mining Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, TATARAMAN symposia provided an important forum to discuss mechanochemical phenomena. The 5th edition of TATARAMAN was held 1988 in Tatranska Lomnica, within the unique setting of High Tatra mountains. It was among majestic alpine peaks that IMA was founded.

The founders of IMA are portrayed in the historical photograph that celebrates the toast in honour of the newly born association. It shows a bunch of women and men smiling at the future while consolidating their friendship with the traditional drink. Some of them have passed away, some of them have retired, some of them still drive and inspire our community with their invaluable experience.

Klara Tkacova and Vladimir V. Boldyrev appear side by side. It is thanks to their commitment, in particular, that IMA was founded. Shortly after, Vladimir V. Boldyrev plays a crucial role for the community, obtaining the affiliation of IMA to the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). Thus, he becomes the Founding President of IMA.

Mindful of their responsibility and drawing from their previous experience, IMA members participate in the 33rd IUPAC Congress, held in Budapest, Hungary, during 17-22 August 1991. The IUPAC Congress devoted a session to the physics and chemistry of mechanical activation and, within such frame, IMA members decided to organize the 1st International Conference on Mechanochemistry (INCOME). The conference was held in Kosice, Slovakia, during 23-26 March 1993 under the leadership of Klara Tkacova and the scientific secretariat managed by Peter Balaz.

It was a success, with participants from 25 different countries of 4 continents.

Since then, the INCOME represents the most important convention dedicated to the science of physical and chemical transformations initiated and driven by mechanical forces. We had nine INCOME editions so far. From Košice in 1993 to Novosibirsk, from Prague to Braunschweig and, again, from Novosibirsk to Jamshedpur, from Herceg Novi to Krakow and, finally, to Košice once more in 2017, a single thread has ideally run throughout time and space. It has tied fundamental issues and practical aspects, attracting scholars and researchers from the most diverse areas of investigation. An awesome community, a multidisciplinary melting pot of chemistst, physicists, material scientists, engineers, geologists and biologists devoted to cross-contamination at the cutting edge of science and technology.

Now, INCOME is running to the culmination of a journey that raised awareness about the Chemistry induced by mechanical forces. The historical achievement of 10 editions will be celebrated in Cagliari, Italy, during 8-11 June 2020. It is organized by the Departments of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, of Chemical and Geological Sciences and of Physics of the University of Cagliari (Italy) and co-organized by the COST Action CA18112 – Mechanochemistry for Sustainable Industry (Mech@SustInd), under the patronage of IMA.

IMA, our association, now leaded by President Prof. Vladimir Sepelak, is alive and kicking and ready to support our community in the understanding and exploitation of the groundbreaking potential of mechanochemistry.