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Effect of Thermal Cycling on Whisker-Reinforced Dental Resin Composites



H H. Xu, F Eichmiller, Douglas T. Smith, Gary E. Schumacher, Anthony A. Giuseppetti, Joseph M. Antonucci


The mechanical properties of dental resin composites needs to be improved in order to extend their use to high stress-bearing applications such as crown and bridge restorations. Recent studies used single crystal ceramic whiskers to reinforce dental composites. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of thermal cycling on whisker-reinforced composites. It was hypothesized that the whisker composites would not show a reduction in mechanical properties or the breakdown of whisker-resin interface after thermal cycling. Silicon carbide whiskers were mixed with silica particles, thermally fused, then silanized and incorporated into resin to make flexural specimens. The filler mass fraction ranged from 0 % to 70 %. The specimens were thermal cycled in 5 C and 60 C water baths, and then fractured in three-point bending to measure strength. Nano-indentation was used to measure modulus and hardness. No significant loss in composite strength, modulus and hardness was found after 105 thermal cycles (family confidence coefficient = 0.95; Tukey's multiple comparison test). The strength of whisker composite increased with filler level up to 60 %, then plateaued when filler level was further increased to 70 %; the modulus and hardness increased monotonically with filler level. The strength and modulus of whisker composite at 70 % filler level were significantly higher than the non-whisker controls both before and after thermal cycling. SEM revealed no separation at the whisker-matrix interfaces, and resin remnants were observed on the pulled-out whiskers, indicating strong whisker-resin bonding even after 105 thermal cycles. In conclusion, novel dental resin composites containing silica-fused whiskers possessed superior strength and modulus compared to non-whisker composites both before and after thermal cycling. The whisker-resin bonding appeared to be resistant to thermal cycling in water, so that no loss in composite strength or stiffness occurred after prolonged thermal cycling.
Journal of Materials Science-Materials in Medicine


elastic modulus, indentation, resin composite, strength, thermal cycling, whisker


Xu, H. , Eichmiller, F. , Smith, D. , Schumacher, G. , Giuseppetti, A. and Antonucci, J. (2002), Effect of Thermal Cycling on Whisker-Reinforced Dental Resin Composites, Journal of Materials Science-Materials in Medicine, [online], (Accessed May 25, 2024)


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Created December 31, 2001, Updated October 12, 2021