We present surprising evidence that the fracture resistance of porous forms of poly(arylene) ether (PAE) films exhibit increasing fracture resistance with increasing porosity. Such behavior is in stark contrast to the fracture toughness of porous solids, which typically decrease markedly with increasing porosity. A fracture mechanics based model is presented to rationalize the increase in fracture toughness of the voided polymer film and explain the behavior in terms of the pore size and volume fraction. It is shown that a certain dependence of pore size and volume fraction is required to increase rather than decrease the fracture resistance. The research has implications for the optimum void size and volume fraction needed to enhance the fracture resistance of porous ductile polymer films.
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Kearney, A.V., Dauskardt, R.H., Mohler, C.E. et al. Unusual fracture behavior of nanoporous polymeric thin-films. MRS Online Proceedings Library 880, 89 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1557/PROC-880-BB8.9