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Issue 4, 2021
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Growth of gas-filled penny-shaped cracks in decompressed hydrogels

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Abstract

We report that the decompression of soft brittle materials can lead to the growth of internal gas-filled cracks. These cracks are oblate spheroids (‘penny shape’), whose major radius grows linearly in time, irreversibly fracturing the surrounding material. Our optical measurements in hydrogels characterise and quantify the three-dimensional crack geometry and growth rate. These results are in good agreement with our analytical model coupling fracture mechanics and gas diffusion, and predicting the dependence on the mechanical properties, gas diffusivity and super-saturation conditions (gas pressure, solubility, temperature). Our results suggest a new potential mechanism for decompression sickness in scuba diving and for indirect optical measurements of the fracture properties of hydrogels.

Graphical abstract: Growth of gas-filled penny-shaped cracks in decompressed hydrogels

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Article information


Submitted
08 Oct 2020
Accepted
16 Dec 2020
First published
07 Jan 2021

This article is Open Access

Soft Matter, 2021,17, 815-825
Article type
Paper

Growth of gas-filled penny-shaped cracks in decompressed hydrogels

Y. Zhang, M. A. Etzold and A. Lefauve, Soft Matter, 2021, 17, 815
DOI: 10.1039/D0SM01795G

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    [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

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