Microscopic precursors of failure in soft matter
The mechanical properties of soft matter are of great importance in countless applications, in addition of being an active field of academic research. Given the relative ease with which soft materials can be deformed, their non-linear behavior is of particular relevance. Large loads eventually result in material failure. In this Perspective article, we discuss recent work aiming at detecting precursors of failure by scrutinizing the microscopic structure and dynamics of soft systems under various conditions of loading. In particular, we show that the microscopic dynamics is a powerful indicator of the ultimate fate of soft materials, capable of unveiling precursors of failure up to thousands of seconds before any macroscopic sign of weakening.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Soft Matter 15th Anniversary Perspectives