Polymer mechanochemical pericyclic reactions are reviewed with regard to their structural features and substitution prerequisites to the polymer framework.
Over the past decades, it became clear that next to heat and light, pericyclic reactions can be induced mechanochemically when the reacting motifs are embedded as latent force-responsive groups (mechanophores) into polymer architectures. Not only does this enable a variety of functions and applications on a material level, but moreover grants access to symmetry-forbidden reaction products with respect to the Woodward–Hoffmann rules. The latter indicates that polymer mechanochemistry follows its own set of rules that, however, regarding underlying mechanisms and design rationales is far from being holistically understood. Here we review the existing body of literature and identify common structural features and substitution prerequisites to the polymer framework shining light on the differences between polymer mechanochemical pericyclic reactions and their traditional counterparts. By this, we believe to contribute to the major challenge of not only retrospectively describing force-induced reactivity but eventually finding a common molecular design guideline.