Spontaneous brittle-to-ductile transition in aqueous foam

Shehla Arif, Jih Chiang Tsai, Sascha Hilgenfeldt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A single layer of foam bubbles between parallel plates fails (fractures) when subjected to an applied pressure. The fracture can occur in both a ductile mode and a brittle mode. It is shown that dissipative effects during propagation of a brittle crack lead to a spontaneous brittle-to-ductile transition, which occurs dynamically during fracture and can be experimentally resolved in its details. The transition occurs when the driving pressure at the crack tip drops below that necessary to maintain supersonic propagation of the brittle crack. A theory taking into account the lateral crack opening together with air flow in the crack successfully predicts the occurrence and location of this novel spontaneous transition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)485-499
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Rheology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Film rupture
  • Foam
  • Fracture
  • Liquid Foams
  • Thin films

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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