Size effects on the mechanical behavior of nanoporous Au

Nano Lett. 2006 Oct;6(10):2379-82. doi: 10.1021/nl061978i.


Recent nanomechanical tests on submicron metal columns and wires have revealed a dramatic increase in yield strength with decreasing sample size. Here, we demonstrate that nanoporous metal foams can be envisioned as a three-dimensional network of ultrahigh-strength nanowires, thus bringing together two seemingly conflicting properties: high strength and high porosity. Specifically, we characterized the size-dependent mechanical properties of nanoporous gold using a combination of nanoindentation, column microcompression, and molecular dynamics simulations. We find that nanoporous gold can be as strong as bulk Au, despite being a highly porous material, and that the ligaments in nanoporous gold approach the theoretical yield strength of Au.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Compressive Strength
  • Elasticity
  • Gold / chemistry*
  • Hardness
  • Materials Testing
  • Mechanics
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Nanostructures / ultrastructure*
  • Particle Size
  • Porosity
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Surface Properties
  • Tensile Strength


  • Gold