Potential-dependent dynamic fracture of nanoporous gold

  • Sun S
  • Chen X
  • Badwe N
 et al. 
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When metallic alloys are exposed to a corrosive environment, porous nanoscale morphologies spontaneously form that can adversely affect the mechanical integrity of engineered struc- tures 1,2 . This form of stress-corrosion cracking is responsible for the well-known ‘season cracking’ of brass and stainless steel components in nuclear power generating stations 3,4 . One explanation for this is that a high-speed crack is nucleated within the porous layer, which subsequently injects into non-porous parent-phase material 5 . We study the static and dynamic fracture properties of free-standing monolithic nanoporous gold as a function electrochemical potential using high-speed photography and digital image correlation. The experiments reveal that at electrochemical potentials typical of porosity formation 6 these structures are capable of supporting dislocation-mediated plastic fracture at crack velocities of 200 m s −1 . Our results identify the important role of high-speed fracture in stress-corrosion cracking and are directly applicable to the behaviour of monolithic dealloyed materials at present being considered for a variety of applications.

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