- Using atomistic modeling, we show that restructuring of the network of interconnected ligaments causes coarsening in a model of nanoporous gold. The restructuring arises from the collapse of some ligaments onto neighboring ones and is enabled by localized plasticity at ligaments and nodes. This mechanism may explain the occurrence of enclosed voids and reduction in volume in nanoporous metals during their synthesis. An expression is developed for the critical ligament radius below which coarsening by network restructuring may occur spontaneously, setting a lower limit to the ligament dimensions of nanofoams. 2011 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.