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Ti-6Al-7Nb, Co-Cr, And Gold Alloy

Ti-6Al-7Nb, Co-Cr, And Gold Alloy

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Deflection fatigue of Ti-6Al-7Nb, Co-Cr, and gold alloy cast clasps
Ahmad Mahmoud, BDS,
a
Noriyuki Wakabayashi, DDS, PhD,
b
Hidekazu Takahashi, DDS, PhD,
c
and Takashi Ohyama, DDS, PhD
d
Division of Oral Health Sciences, Graduate School, Tokyo Medical andDental University, Tokyo, Japan
Statement of problem.
There is little information about the deflection fatigue of clasps in relation to stressdistribution.
Purpose.
The aim of this study was to investigate the fatigue resistance and permanent deformation of castclasps made of titanium and other dental alloys and to relate the fatigue resistance with the calculated stress values.
Material and methods.
Twenty-five Ti-6Al-7Nb, 25 Co-Cr, and 15 Type IV gold alloy clasps were subjectedto cyclic deflection of preset values of 0.25 mm, 0.50 mm, or 0.75 mm, for 10
6
cycles (n = 14). Finite elementmodels were created to calculate principal stresses within the specimens. Fatigue life, retentive force, andpermanent deformation were recorded, and the fracture locations were determined microscopically. The results were characterized in relation to the stress within the clasps. One-way analysis of variance and Tamhane’s post-hoc tests were used to compare the results of the 9 material-deflection groups (
a
=.05).
Results.
Ti-6Al-7Nb clasps exhibited significantly less permanent deformation than the other clasps underrelatively greater deflections, indicating better adaptation to the tooth surface. However, the fatigue life of theTi-6Al-7Nb clasps under 0.75-mm deflection, with the stress above the alloy’s 0.2% yield strength, wassignificantly shorter than those under smaller deflections. The gold clasps showed significantly longer fatigue lifethan the other clasps under the 0.50-mm deflection. High-stress areas within the fatigue clasp specimenscoincided with the fracture locations. The probabilities of fatigue fracture and permanent deformation wereclosely related to the material strengths and the preset deflections.
Conclusion.
To minimize fatigue failures, the cast clasp should be designed with consideration of the stressesdistributions within the clasps. (J Prosthet Dent 2005;93:183-8.)
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS
The Ti-6Al-7Nb and gold clasps demonstrated fatigue resistance that allows placement in undercut greater than 0.25 mm, which is suitable for Co-Cr alloy clasps. These clasps may be indicated when esthetics or periodontal health is a primary concern.
T
i-6Al-7Nb alloy has been developed as an alterna-tive to Co-Cr and other existing removable partial den-ture alloys because it offers excellent biocompatibility,good resistance toabrasion, and other advantages forrelatively low cost.
Like other titanium alloys, theTi-6Al-7Nb alloy has an elastic modulus that is approx-imately half of Co-Cr alloy, which increases its flexibil-ity.
5
The increased flexibility allows the retentive clasparms to be placed into larger undercuts on abutmentsthan Co-Cr alloy clasps, and this may be important when esthetics or periodontal health is a primary con-cern.Clasps undergo permanent deformation and fatiguefracture under repeated flexures causedb y denture in-sertion and removal and mastication.
The fatiguelife of cast clasps made of commercially-pure titanium was reported tobe shorter than that of Co-Cr andgold alloy clasps.
5
However, the fatigue fracture andpermanent deformation of cast clasps made of titaniumalloy has not been sufficiently assessed in relation tostress distribution, and little is known about how these
This study was supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research,12771170 (N.W.) and 14571840 (N.W.), from The Ministry of Education, Science, and Culture of Japan. Presented at the 110thScientific Meeting of the Japan Prosthodontic Society, Nagano, Japan, October 2003.Presented at the 82nd General Session and Exhibition of theInternational Association for Dental Research; an Arthur R.Frechette Research Award Finalist, Hawaii, March, 2004.
a
Resident, PhD student, Removable Prosthodontics, Department of Masticatory Function Rehabilitation.
b
Research associate, Removable Prosthodontics, Department of Masticatory Function Rehabilitation.
c
Associate Professor, Advanced Biomaterials, Department of Re-storative Sciences, Division of Oral Health Sciences.
d
Professor and Chair, Removable Prosthodontics, Department of Masticatory Function Rehabilitation.
FEBRUARY 2005 THE JOURNAL OF PROSTHETIC DENTISTRY 183
 
clasps would function in long-term clinical use.Permanent deformation and fatiguefracture are causedbythestresscreatedintheclasp.
Thestressdistribu-tion may depend on the elastic modulusof thealloy, di-mensions and curvature of the clasp,
and theamount and directionof defection in relation to theabutment undercut.
The purpose of this in vitro study was to investigatethe fatigue of the Ti-6Al-7Nb clasps compared toCo-Cr and gold alloy clasps. The fatigue life, retentiveforce,andpermanentdeformationofclaspsundercyclicdeflections of different magnitudes were evaluated, anddeflection fatigue was characterized in relation to thestress distributions within the clasps.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
 A metal cylinder with a 10-mm outer diameter wasusedfortheadaptationofapre-formedtaperedwaxpat-tern (Rapid-Flex; Degussa, Dusseldorf, Germany). Theclasp arm pattern originated from a plate and curvedaround the cylindrical surface 120 degrees in a singleplane (Fig. 1,
). Average width and thickness of theclasparmat30degreeswere0.92mmand0.97mm,re-spectively,whilethoseat120degreeswere0.73mmand0.79 mm, respectively. The plate served as an attach-ment for fixation to a fatigue-testing machine (250N;Shimadzu Corp, Kyoto, Japan). The original pattern was duplicated using a split mold to make acrylic resinpatterns (Pattern resin, GC, Tokyo, Japan). A sphericalbead 0.5 mm in diameter was glued onto the innersurfaceofeachclasptiptoprovideapointofforceappli-cation. The patterns were invested and cast using Ti-6Al-7Nb (T-alloy Tough; GC) with a magnesia-basedinvestment (Selevest CB; Kobelco, Hyogo, Japan),Co-Cr (Biosil L; Degussa) and a Type IV gold alloy (Degulor M; Degussa), both with a phosphate-bondedinvestment(Biosint-supra;Degussa).Thecompositionsand material properties of these alloys are shown inTable I. The Ti-6Al-7Nb was cast using argon arc melt-ing technology with a centrifugal vacuum pressure cast-ingmachine(Valcan-T;Shofu,Kyoto,Japan).TheCo-Cralloy was cast using high-frequency induction meltingtechnology with a centrifugal casting machine (SA-2000;Sankin, Tokyo, Japan). The gold alloy was cast usingelectric resistance melting technology with a centrifugalcasting machine (TS3; Degussa). The casting proce-duresweredeterminedfollowingthemanufacturers’in-structions for the metals and investments. Recoveredcastingswerelightlycleanedwithairborne-particleabra-sion using 80-
m
m aluminum oxide particles. Each goldalloy clasp was heat-treated according to the manufac-turer’s instructions.
Fatigue test 
Twenty five Ti-6Al-7Nb, 25 Co-Cr, and 15 gold al-loy cast specimens were divided into different experi-mental groups according to preset clasp tipdeflections, 0.25 mm, 0.50 mm, and 0.75 mm, which were designed to compare the clasps’ functions underdifferent undercuts to the tooth surfaces. The 3 groupsof the Ti-6Al-7Nb clasps based on deflections were de-noted by codes T25 (n = 5), T50 (n = 10), and T75(n = 10). The 3 groups of Co-Cr clasps denoted by C25 (n = 5), C50 (n = 10), and C75 (n = 10), andG25 (n = 5), G50 (n = 5), and G75 (n = 5) were usedfor the gold alloy clasps. Each specimen was fixed tothetestingmachinewithscrewsandsubjectedtoasinus-oidal cyclic deflection generated by the radial directionforce at the tip of each clasp arm at a frequency of 5 Hz.The load/deflection curve was monitored, and the test was terminated when the maximum force was reducedto less than 15% of the initial load, or when 10
6
cycles
 were completed. The permanent deformation wascalculated as the difference in piston tip-loading spheredistance between the position at the beginning of eachcycleandthepositionatthefirstcycle.Theactualdeflec-tion was thereafter obtained by subtracting the perma-nent deformation from the preset deflection. One-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Tamhane’s T2
post-hoc tests were conducted to determine the differ-ences in the permanent deformations, applied forces,andnumberofloadingcyclesbetweenthe9material-de-flection groups were significant or not. After the fatiguetest, an optical microscopic (VH-5000; Keyence Corp,Osaka, Japan) examination was performed to locate thefracture site in each clasp specimen.
Finite Element Analysis
By the use of the preprocessor of the finite elementmethod (FEM) computer software (ANSYS 7.1 FEM; ANSYS Inc, Canonsburg, Pa), a 3-dimensional finite
Fig. 1. A,
Schematic illustration of fatigue test specimen.Specimen consists of clasp arm, loading sphere, and plate forfixation to testing machine.
B,
Finite element model of clasparm.Dimensionsofeachmodelwerebasedontestspecimen.
THE JOURNAL OF PROSTHETIC DENTISTRY MAHMOUD ET AL
184 VOLUME 93 NUMBER 2
 
element model for each fatigue test clasp was createdbased on the width and thickness of each specimen, whichweremeasuredat7representativelocationsusinga measuring microscope (MM-60; Nikon, Tokyo,Japan) (Fig.1,
). Each model was meshed by 8-nodehexahedral elements. In the simulation, each clasp tip was displaced by the average of actual deflections inthe radial direction while the base area at theclasp’sshoulder was fixed. Elastic moduli of 90 GPa,
220GPa, and 123 GPa (Table I) were input into the pro-gram to simulate the gold, Co-Cr, and Ti-6Al-7Nb al-loys, respectivel y.A Poisson ratio of 0.33 was used forall of the alloys.
The friction coefficient betweentherod and the clasp surface was assumed to be 0.2.
Theprincipal stress distribution within each clasp model was calculated using the post processor of the FEMcomputer software.
RESULTSFatigue resistance
Figure2displaysthefatiguelifeofeachspecimen.Foreach test group, a representative specimen was chosen,and its permanent deformation and force required fordeflection are respectively shown inFigures 3 and 4asfunctions of loading cycles. In the early stage, instantincreases in permanent deformations were recorded forall specimens. Thereafter, all of the clasps with 0.25-mmdeflections,exceptfor1Co-Crclasp,sustainedcon-stant forces and permanent deformations and survived10
6
cycles without fracture. One Co-Cr clasp witha 0.25 mm deflection and all of the other clasps withlarger deflections also sustained almost constant forcesand permanent deformations after the early stages.However, those clasps that fractured before the 10
6
cycles demonstrated sudden force decreases accompa-nied by dramatic deformation increases shortly beforefracture. The average numbers of loading cycles for fail-ure, the average loads for deflection, and the averagepermanent deformations are listed inTable II.One-wayANOVAshowedthatthedifferencesinloadrequiredfordeflection,thepermanentdeformation,andthenumberofcyclestofailureamongthe9material-de-flectiontestgroupsweresignificant(
,
.05).Theresultsof the post-hoc comparison between the 9 material-deflection experimental groups are shown inFigure 2andTable II. It should be noted that one C50 clasp withtheexceptionallygreaternumberofcyclestofailure wasconsideredanoutlierandwasexcludedfromthesta-tistical analysis (Fig. 2). Postoperative microscopic ob-servations indicated that the fracture sites of all of thefailed clasps were located between 48 and 91 degreesfrom the clasp arm shoulder, with a mean value of 71
6
11 degrees (Fig. 5). There were no significant differ-ences in the fracture sites among the 9 test groups.
Finite element analysis
Inthefiniteelementmodels,thesiteswherethemax-imum principal stresses occurred were located between39 and 85 degrees from the clasp shoulder, with anaverageof70
6
11degrees. Theaverage principal stressdistributionforeachtestgroupisillustratedinFigure6.The stress values detected between 35 and 90 wererelatively constant and above 85% of the maximumstress. There were no significant differences in the sitesof the maximum stress among the clasp materials or
Fig. 2.
Fatigue life distributions of specimens as function of number of cycle. Each vertical line segment represents claspspecimen.
Bar 
with
asterisk 
was considered outlier and notincluded in statistical analysis. Left superscript letters of eachtest group represents homogeneous subsets resulting frompost-hoc comparison. Each subset represents groups withinsignificant differences. (
>.05).
Table I.
Composition and mechanical properties of alloys evaluated
Ti-6Al-7Nb Co-Cr Type IV gold
Composition (wt %) 86.5 Ti, 7 Nb, 6 Al,0.5 others62.5 Co, 30.5 Cr, 5 Mo, 1 Si,0.4 Mn, 0.3 C, 0.3 N70 Au, 4.4 Pt, 13.5 Ag, 8.8 Cu,2 Pd, 0.1 Ir, 1.2 othersModulus of elasticity (GPa) 123 220 900.2% Proof stress (MPa) 890 710 620Tensile strength (MPa) 950 900 740Percentage elongation (%) 5 6 17
All data were based on information provided by manufacturer for each respective material except for modulus of elasticity of Type IV gold alloy.
Note: recordedyield strength value is affected by offset value and can be substantially different from proportional limit.
THE JOURNAL OF PROSTHETIC DENTISTRYMAHMOUD ET AL
FEBRUARY 2005 185

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