WHAT IS IT?
A major theoretical and experimental breakthrough that allows scientists to predict, with an unprecedented precision, when a soft material will crack and fail.
The findings have immediate implications for the engineering and manufacture of a wide range of polymers. They also provide insights into how natural soft materials -- such as the connective tissues in our bodies and even our brains -- break down. This advance provides a missing link between chemistry and materials science and engineering for polymer networks to understand the mechanics of cavitation or the sudden, unstable crack-causing expansions within soft materials and tissues.