Journal or Book Title
The mechanical properties of gels present qualitatively contradictory behavior; they are commonly soft but also notoriously brittle. We investigate the elasticity and fracture behavior of swollen polymer networks using a simple experimental method to induce cavitation within a gel and adapt scaling theories to capture the observed transition from reversible to irreversible deformations as a function of polymer volume fraction. It is shown quantitatively that the transition from reversible cavitation to irreversible fracture depends on the polymer volume fraction and an initial defect length scale. The use of cavitation experiments permits characterization of network properties across length scales ranging from mm to mm. We anticipate that these results may signiﬁcantly enhance the understanding of mechanical properties of soft materials, both synthetic and biological.
Kundu, Santanu and Crosby, Alfred J., "Cavitation and fracture behavior of polyacrylamide hydrogels" (2009). Soft Matter. 152.