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Philip S.

Baker, DDS
Assistant Professor
Arthur E. Clark, ¡r, PhD. DMD
Professor and Chairman

Compositional Influence
on the Strength of
Dental Porcelain

Department of Prosthodontics
College of Dentistry
University of Florida

This work compared the tensile strength of two glass
compositions with published values of currently available
dental porcelains. The influence of several variables, such as
air and vacuum firing, firing temperature, surface roughness,
immersion in water, and the inclusion of filler particles, on
the inherent strength of the glass compositions is also
discussed. The authors developed a glass frit having a tensile
strength of 102.4 MPa as determined by the biaxial flexure
technique. This value compares favorably with the reported
strength of commercial brands of feldspathic porcelains. The
strength of this glass was not significantly reduced as a result
of surface abrasion or immersion in distilled water. Int I
Prosthodont 1993:6:291-297.

ceramics are generally recognized as beD ental
ing esthetically superior to other restorative

the thinness of the strengthened layer and the
deleterious effects of scratches on treated surfaces.
dental materials. They exhibit excellent tissue comPenetration or scoring of the layer can result in a
dramatic weakening." Hence, further investigation
palibility, extreme chemical durability, and low
into alternative strengthening methods is warthermal conductivity. Unfortunately, dental ceranted.
ramics are fragile and can fail when exposed to
masticatory stresses. This results from their brittleAnother method to improve the mechanical
properties of dentai porcelain is bulk strengthenness as weli as their low tensile and shear strength.
ing, ie, producing a porcelain with a uniform inNumerous investigators have attempted to evaluate
crease in strength. Dental porcelains are basically
and improve the strength of dental ceramics with
aluminosilicate glasses with residual quartz crystals
varying degrees of success.'"" These techniques
and a small percentage of pigmenting agents. In a
fiave included modification of current products as
composite system with a continuous glass matrix,
well as development of new materials to attempt to
crystalline dispersions limit the size of the Griffith
replace porcelain.
flaws and strengthen the system.''For crystals to act
One approach toward strengthening dental poras effective strengthening agents, however, they
celain involves an ion exchange technique. If a
should possess a thermal expansion similar to the
large ion replaces a smaller one, compressive stress
matrix phase to prevent the introduction of stress at
is produced in the exchanged region. A number of
the matrix-crystal interface. In dental porcelains the
studies on strengthening dentai porcelain by using
cooling shrinkage of quartz inversion at 573^ can
ion exchange have been reported,' ' and all dembe so great that the quartz particles separate from
onstrated a significant increase in the modulus of
the glass matrix. McLean and Hughes' reported on
rupture. Potential limitations to this technique are
replacing the quartz crystalline phase with alumina
and observed a significant improvement in
strength. This resulted in part from the lower exReprint requests: Dr Philip S. Baker, Department of Prosthodon- pansion of alumina particles which enabled them to
remain in intimate contact with the glass matrix.
tics, College of Dentistry, Unn/ersity of florida. Box W04Í5,
Gainesville, Florida 32610-0435.

6, Number 3,1993

291

The [nternatiorai loutnal of Prosltiodontii

Chatsworth. The second group includes feldspathic porcelains having matrices that are rigid at 573^. 2% K.0. Although the presence of crystals..0. 16% Na. they also increase its opacity. an inquiry into methods of strengthening the glass matrix is warranted. N|) with an accuracy of ± 0. aluminum oxide (Fisher Scientific.10% CaO. 5% AljO. Fred S. The authors formulated 200-g batches of each composition by weight using an electronic balance (Mettler Flectronic Balance Model BB 240. 4% K. . although alumina particles strengthen porcelain.O¡. 2. No colorants were added. with selected samples then being air abraded (Abrasive Blaster. Three groups of samples were fired. then air cooled to room temperature (22. Belle de St Claire. group 2 consisted of samples of composition L-1 sieved to two different particle sizes. Carver. W!). and S-jxm silica (Min-U-Sil 5|j.Compositional Inlluence on Dentai Potceiain Unfortunately. 8% Na. CA) while others were immersed in distilled water for 24 hours. Carver. Croup 1 consisted of 50 samples of composition L-1 and 10 samples of 80% L-1 combined with 20% AkO. can strengthen a dental porcelain under proper conditions. Inc.0. composed of 65% SiO. Fig 1 Diagram of biaxial fiexure test device. Southan's data indicated that aluminous porcelains were not significantly stronger than matrix-intact feldspaf hie porcelains. PA).0. Menomonee Falls. Fisher Scientific) and sieved to -100 and -325 mesh powders. Burrell Corp. Discs were prepared by dry powder compaction of 4 g of powder in 28... boric anhydride. L-1. PA).450''C for 24 hours in a high-temperature ceramic furnace (Model LCH. ¡elenko Dental Health Products..m aluminum oxide. PA). Pennsylvania Class Sand Corp. Southan' has classified modern dental porcelains into two groups: one group having an intact vitreous matrix and the other having a disrupted vitreous matrix. The influence of firing temperature.4 MPa was used (Carver Laboratory Press. Materials and Methods The glasses were prepared from reagent grade sodium carbonate.300°C to 1. and Q% B. Therefore. The two glass compositions reported in this paper are: 1. The first group includes aluminous porcelains and any feldspathic porcelains having matrices that are sufficiently plastic at 573''C to accommodate the volumetric shrinkage of the quartz inversion. The molten glass was quenched once in water producing the frit. The implication of this concept is that strengthening may be achieved with quartz filler particles if the viscosity or rigidity of the glass matrix is such that the volumetric contraction of the quartz particles does not set up stresses at the quartz-glass interface.0.m. and 10% B. fired under different conditions.10% CaO. 50-|j.1 g. The mixtures were melted in platinum crucibles in a temperature range from 1. 30% AI^Oj. surface roughness. The discs were fired for 1 hour at the final temperatures. Armonk.6-mm-diameter dies {Fred S. Pressed specimens were fired in sets of 10 in a porcelain oven (Jelenko TruFire VPF. Akron. potassium carbonate. Pittsburgh. and inclusion of filler particles on the new glasses was also evaluated. OH) and pelleted milling medium (Burundum Grinding Medium. water immersion. lnc¡. The purpose of this study was to measure the tensile strength of two glass compositions developed by the authors and to compare these materials with currently available dental porcelains. When porcelains in this group are cooled. An applied load of 103. and group 3 consisted of 10 samples of composition A-2 and 10 samples of 60% A-2 combined with 40% A1. Mettler The internationai Joumai of Proîtiiodontics 292 Volume 6. whether quartz or alumina.0. fracture may also propagate through the glass in the regions between crystalline particles. NY) by gradual introduction into the oven muffle at 600^C and firing to final temperatures at a heating rate of 50°C per minute. the glass matrix is stressed to the point where microcracks are formed. composed of 40% SiO.5X] on the firing tray placed upon the porcelain oven stage. calcium carbonate. Instrument Corp. Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh. The fritted materials were ball milled using a jar mill (US Stoneware. A-2. Hightstown.

the mean flexure strength of composition L-1 was 77. Results Figure 2 presents the mean tensile breaking stressforthe tests of composition L-1 (group 1].7 ±27." 3P II] Hughes' have made use of a related technique and noted a similarity to stresses that are likely to occur in a thin section such as a jacket crown. The mean breaking stress was 81.4 ± 16. P = applied load. Instron Corp. Series E shows the mean flexure strength for a mixture of 80 wt% L-1 powder and 20 wt% ALO.4 MPa.5 ± 19. Six conditions were tested and the results of each condition represent the average of ten samples. Raising the firing temperature SOX resulted in a mean breaking stress of 102. The mean tensile strength for composition L-1 when air fired at 700°C for 1 hour and air cooled is 86.1993 293 .Compositional Iniluenceon Denial Porcelain Fig 2 Mean tensiie breaking stress measures for six series ot sampies ot composition L-1. and D = thickness. The apparatus was placed in a universal testing machine (Instron Model 1125.8 ± 17.2 MPa (series A).27 mm/min. The powder size for all six series was . MA) and loaded at a rate of 1. The mean breaking stress was 88.0 MPa. Canton. The tensile stress developed in the center of the lower surface of the plate can be calculated as follows. Comp L-1 A Air Fired 700°C 1 h B Air Fired 75O'C 1 h C Air Fired 700^C 1 h Surface Abraded D Vacuum Fired 700°C 1 h E 80% L-1 + 20% AljC. A series of L-1 samples was air fired at 700°C for 1 hour and then immersed in distilled water for 24 hours prior to mechanical testing ¡series F].325 mesh or iess than 44 |i.m. An advantage of this test is that slightly warped specimens may be used without affecting the results. A = radius of support circle." McLean and ume 5.6 MPa (Series D]." This method entails use of a thin circular disc placed on three equally spaced ball bearings with the specimen loaded at tbe center of the support circle (Figi). Series C represents the mean strength of composition L-1 when fired at 700°C and surface abraded prior to mechanical testing. (XY) where 12] ^ ^ (1 .6 ± 18. The effects of edge flaws seen with rectangular bar specimens are minimized. C = radius of specimen.5MPa.0 MPa (series B].[TD (3) where |v] = Poisson's ratio. Air Fired/oO'C 1 h F Air Fired 70D°C 1 h immersed 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 0 Sample Series Samples were then subject to mechanical stress via the biaxial flexure method developed by Wachtman et al. When vacuum fired for 1 hour. When air fired for 1 hour at 75O''C the mean was 102.8 ± 13. ß = radius of loaded area. Number 3..

9 ± 9.6 77.0 MPa (Fig 4.5 . B. When air fired for 1 hour at 800X.07 25331.O5 12893.6 c D 102.7 86.3 1341. the mean value was 74.75 <. fired at 1.4 111268 3 04 19767. but A. Although there are few data of this type in the literature. series B). The Internaiional lournal of Prosthodontics 294 Between groups Within groups 36 8650. C.0 "Values connected by vertical lines are nol statistically different [P < 05) Significant intragroup hreaking strength differences were identified for composition L-1 by oneway analysis ot variance (Tahle 1) and unpaired (test (Table 2) and revealed the following: (1¡ sample series B and E were statistically similar. which contains 40 wt% silica anà 30 wt% alumina (group 3. (group 3.64 Figure 4 presents the mean flexure stress for composition A-2.29 Total 39 16168. series B). D.6 1S.85 358.15 7518. are labeled series C and D.43 <. Discussion Becauseof the uncertainties of comparing tensile properties of glasses determined by different testing techniques. it is feif that the features associated with the biaxial flexure technique as discussed earlier simulate the conditions of mechanical stressing encountered in a clinical situation. Figure 3 shows a comparison of fhe mean flexure strength for two different particle size ranges of M for air-fired and vacuum-fired conditions (group 2).2 13. Statistical analysis by one-way ANOVA (Table 1) and unpaired t test (Table 2) for compositions A-2 (group 3. The mean breaking sfrengths of composition L-1 air fired at 750°C (group 1.5 ± 16.2 MPa (series A) and the vacuum-fired value was 77.6 MPa (Fig 4. porcelain and alumina. for this figure only. or alumina discs on a lead foil washer against a circular knife edge and loading the discs from the opposite side with a hardened steel ball at a rate of 104 kg/min.9 74.5 75.e 17.69 366. but a significant difference did exist between the A-2 compositions (series A and B) and the group 1 L-1 compositions included for comparison [P < . series A) and A-2 plus h\. series A).05). series E)are also included in Fig 4 for comparison and.9 86.0 9.2 2506.5 ± 18.5 MPa.'" the data in this work are compared with the data presented by McLean and Hughes' since their method was similar to that of the present study.0 16. series A).2 18. It consisted of placing 1-mmthick porcelain. D.4 MPa (series C) and fhe vacuum-fired value was 75. The results of í tests (Table 2) indicated that sample series A. For fhe -100 mesh |< 150 |i.2 19.05).0 27. A mixture of 60 wt% A-2 frit plus 40 wt% ALO.' McLean and Hughes reported the average breaking strength of a medium-fusing air-fired porcelain as 60.5 MPa.5 19. C.4 13.and D were not significantly different.5 ± 19.7 17. series B) disclosed no significant difference befween series A and B.Compositional Inllucrceon Dental Porcelain Table 1 One-way ANOVA Resulfs Group 1 Between groups Source DF SS MS F P Table 2 Group 2 Within groups Total 5 54 59 5563.5 Group 3 Within groups 24. and a low-fusing air-fired porcelain as 66.m) L-1 powder the airfired breaking stress was 100.5 102. For the -325 mesh L-1 powder the air-fired breaking sfrength was 86. ANOVA revealed significanf differences between the group 2 sample series of varied particle sizes (Table 1).44 240. had a mean breaking strength of 75.09 <05 Between groups Total 3 36 39 3 4024.8 102.4 75.16 16916.7 MPa (series D]. buf were significantly different trom series A. and D significanfly differed from series C[P< .O¡ (group 3.0 16.05). a medium-fusing vacuum-fired porcelain as 66. series B) and the mixture of L-1 plus 20 wt% alumina air fired at 750°C (group!.07 10.4 88.6 16.5 Group 2 C A B D Group 3 D C B A 100.6 MPa ¡series B).43 3.O1 Unpaired ! Test Results Sample series Mean" SD Group 1 E 8 F A i02.000" C for 1 hour.8 ± 13. and F were statistically similar in mean breaking sfrengfh.9 ± 24.8 77.8 81. and F (P < . and (2] sample series A. B.

the coefficient of variation did increase from 15. However. Immersion of specimens of glass L-1 in distilled water (Fig 2.and vacuum-tired composition L-1.6 MPa) indicates that the strength of series A is not associated with the formation of a surface compressive layer during the rapid air cooling period.2% to 22.Cumpositiorai Influence on Dental Porceii Fig 3 Mean flexure stress measures for two particie size ranges of air. A-2 pius 40% A I A . The average breaking strength for composition L-1 was 86. series A).7%. S w ""^ 80 60 40 20 O Sample Series Vacuum firing glass L-1 at 700°C led to a mean flexure strength of 77.. Nurrber3.8 MPa when air fired at 700°C and air cooled (Fig2. The presence of these defects could account for the greater data dispersion of the specimens fired under vacuum. series F) 24 hours prior to mechanical testing did not produce any notable weakening MPa. Microscopic examination of fractured specimens of glass L-1 which had been air fired and vacuum fired indicated that the vacuum-fired specimens contained larger pores than the air-fired samples. A Comp A-2 Air Fired aoo°c 1 h B 60% A-2 + 40% AljO Air Fired 1000°C 1 h C Comp L-1 Air Fired 750^ 1 h D 80% L-1 + 20%Ai. The mean breaking strength of series C in Fig 2 (81. L-1. ahd L-1 plus 20% ALO. re6. Comp L-1 A Air Fired 700°C 1 h -325 Mesh Frit B Vacuum Fired 700°C 11n -325 Mesh Frit C Air Fired 700°C 1 h -100 Mesh Frit D Vacuum Fired 700°C 1 h -100 Mesh Frrf 140 r 120 100 80 60 40 20 Sample Series Fig 4 Mean fiexure stress measures tcr compositions A-2. This is in agreement with the findings of Corbitt et al.1 295 The International lour .5 MPa and a rather large coefficient of variation of 25%.-' in that the strength of dental porcelain seems more dependent upon infernal configuration than surface flaws.O3 Air Fired 75Q°C 1 h 140 120 'S %.

Composition A-2 contains only 40 wt% silica and 30 wt% alumina. However.6. | Am Ceram Soc 1962.8 to 102.45:59-68. or 60% A-2 plus 40% alumina particles fired at1.90-97. Interestingly. 5. termed static fatigue. References 1.Oj) air fired at 800°C. This increase is probably associated with more complete fusion of the glass particles during sintering. or shortterm water immersion for glass composition L-1. 1. 2. should provide information on the feasibility of such compositions for commercial use. 2.15:507-510. The alkali (Na.4 MPa). whereas the commercial brands contain approximately 12%. Microscopic examination of the L-1 glass fired at 7(iO°C revealed that the particles were still evident after firing. Air firing glass composition L-1 at 75O''C produced a significantly stronger porcelain than firing itat700°C. Conclusions A glass frit has been developed which has a tensile strength of 102.effect (86.8 MPa mean not immersed vs 88. no significant difference in breaking strength was noted for conditions of air firing. Incomplete sintering at the boundaries would produce a situation in which stress transfer between particles would not be possible. This may be attributed to the low firing temperature (750°G).4 MPa.7 MPa mean immersed). It should be noted that Jones and Wilson" found that the inclusion of small amounts of alumina (5% to 20%) to veneer porcelains did not act as an effective strengthening phase. Soulhan DE. Siudies on the chemical strengthening ol soda-lime-siiita glass. Large voids were present in the vacuum-fired specimens of both particle size ranges. Its mean breaking strength when fired at 800X for 1 hour was significantly iower than that of glass L-1 fired at 75O'G (74. 3. However. the incorporation of alumina particles with the glass frit had no significant effect on the mean hreaking stress. If the 700°G air-firing temperature does lead to incomplete sintering and failure at the particle boundaries.000°G to enhance sintering would be impractical with glass L-1 because of extreme softening of the glassy matrix. or air-or vacuum-fired -325 mesh size at the 700°C firing temperature. The difference was usually replaced by B^O^ additions. The extra alkali content of L-1 should have the effect of reducing the viscosity at a given temperature. Series F in Fig 2 shows that the addition of20wt% alumina to the L-1 glass frit had no effect on the mean breaking strength. . Ward IB. to composition L-1 air fired at 750°G had no significant effect on breaking strength. Aiist Dent 11970. When fired at700°C. Firing at temperatures near 1. resulting in incomplete sintering between the glass particles and the alumina particles. as well as an examination of the effects of colorants on the breaking strength of the new porcelains.. However." At the onset of this study it was felt that increasing the alkali content to reduce viscosity would lower the strength concurrently. Sugarman B and Symmers C. Glass Technol 1%5. Glass compositions L-1 and 80% L-1 plus 20% AljOj.943 MPa for the glass containing the larger particles. fired at 7. 4. the coefficient of variation was reduced from 26% to 14%.This effect. air firing glass L-1 at 700^ with two particle size ranges produced a mean strength change from 86. The addition of 20 wt% A[. Stre55e5 in giass produced by noniiniform exchange of monovalenl ions. longer periods of immersion may lower the tensile strength of dental porcelains by reducing the energy required for propagation at the crack tips of surface flaws. air abrasion. Slrengtiiening modern dentai porcciain by ion exchange. As with glass L-1. vacuum firing.0. 3.W°C. Kistler SS. This value compares favorably with the reported strength of commercial brands of feldspathic porcelains.000°C. vacuum firing at 700°C produced very similar means for both particle size ranges. would not be anticipated after the brief exposure to water in this investigation. Raising the firing temperature of glass L-1 from ZOOT to 750T increased the mean flexure strength from 86.O) concentration of glass L-1 is 20%. were significantly stronger than glass A-2 (40% silica and 30% Al .8 MPa for the smaller size to 100.O and K. Air-fired -100 mesh particle size glass L-1 was significantly stronger Ihan vacuum-fired -100 mesh. The fact that the strength as determined in this study seems equal or superior to commercially available porce- The Internationa I ot Proslhodonlics 296 lains is most encouraging to further research. Their presence could explain the similar strengths and rather large coefficients of variation in each (22% and 25%). The results of this study suggest the foliowing conclusions. Evaluation of larger sample groups with different test parameters. Binns-' listed the compositions of several commercial dental porcelains.4 MPa as determined by the biaxial flexure technique. then the increased strength observed with the L-1 glass containing larger particles may be attributed to the presence of fewer potential faiiure sites and indicates that the material should be fired at higher temperatures.5 MPa vs 102.

Dentaiiabor 1987.] Oral Rehabii 1975:2:379-396.Compositional Influence on Denial Pórtela 4. Advances in dental ceramics. Presented at the lADR 54th General Session. Crispin BC. McLean |W. Castable apatite ceramics as a new biocompatible restorative material. Fairhurst CW. | Dent Res 1990:69:1791-1799. March 1971. Grossman DG. 24.124:361-365. Das Hi-Ceram-Verfahren metallfreie Kronen auf einem Keramikgeriist. Riley E|. Sozio RB. 8. 7. 13. II. A higher strength porcelain fot crown and bridge wori<.] Dentiies1985:b4:29&. Int 1 Periodont Rest Dent 1984:4:33-45. Chemicai strengthening by ion exchange of lithium for sodium. Kluft C. Dentai Porcelain: The State of the Art. 17. 11. Seghi RR. 6. 1977: A Compendium of the Colloquium held at the University cf Southern California School of Dentistry. Br Dent 11965:119:251-267. 5. The physicai and chemicai properties of dental porceiain. IwataT.49:68-72.108. Fabrication otthe restoraiion. The reinforcement ot dental porcelain with ceramic oxides. New York: lohn Wiiey.4171-177. Wiederhorn SM. Moisture assisted craci< growth in ceramics. Pettrow |N. Fine C|. Some properties of dental ceramics. BrDentI 1964:119:268-272. 1973. 19. 16. 20. McLean |W. 12. Ban S. Iones DW. The effect of ion exchange on the flexurai strength of feldspathic porcelains. Danielsori PS. Chicago. Dent Clin Nonh Am 1985:29:705-717. Wachtman )B. Quintessence Int 1987:18:575-5811. In: YamadaHN. The castable ceramic crown. Proposed fracture theory of a dispersion strengthened glass matrix. J Prosthet Dent 1992:67:859-865. Going RE. 1993 15. MacCulloch WT. Morena R. Effect of surlace in|ury on chemicaily strengthened dental porceiain. Binns DB. Anusavice Ki. Los Angeles: University of Southern Caiifornia. | Mater Sei 1972.35:479-482. Bell BH.7:1B8-194. Adair Pi. Dunn B. Strengthening of dental ceramics by ion exchange (paper S03I. 25. Hasselman DPH. 23. Fulrath RM. 21. IB. Fracture stress of a commercial dental porceiain and its components labstract 10891. Presented at tine iADR Meeting.Shrink-free ceramic. HenchLL. Claus H. Class-ceramic dental restorations. 9. Hughes TH. J Prosthet Dent 1961:11:334-Î44. Corbitt GV. Capps W. Glass Science. Practical factors in building and firing charactefistics of dental porcelain. Doremus RH. 10. Hondrum SO. Wilson H|. Quintessence int 1985:16:207-216. • 6. 14. Br Dent | 196e. 297 . A review ol the strength properties of denial ceramics. Hobo S. Grenoble PBIeds). | Am Ceram Soc 1966. Reisbick MH.Number 3. 1977. Influence ol test method on failure stress of brittle materials. Phys Chem Glasses 1988:29:134-140. Mito W. 22. Peyton FA. Biaxial flexure testing of ceramic substrates.IngersoliN. Southan DF. Int I Fracture Mechan 1968. March 1976. Mande J. int I Prosthodcnt 1990:3:130-134.