New zirconia material for dental applications with surface modifications and controlled roughness

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Zirconia doped with 3% moles of yttrium is one of a new generation of materials for specific dental applications, due to its appearance, biocompatibility and mechanical properties. The surface of crowns, bridges, implants and abutments should have a certain degree of roughness to improve adhesion to other materials (cements and porcelains) and induce better osseointegration. These modifications, which are made using techniques such as sand blasting, chemical attack or laser, may affect the structural integrity of zirconia parts, particularly in the long term.

The aim of this project developed by the Structural Integrity and Materials Reliability Center (CIEFMA UPC), was to study and design methods to prevent the failure of zirconia materials with rough surfaces by examining their micromechanics and correlating the damage produced with various parameters. In addition, zirconia with greater resilience to fracture and resistance to hydrothermal degradation was developed, with an appropriate distribution of grain size and composition that increases resilience without affecting resistance. Because of the small scales involved, in the order of a few microns, advanced microstructure and mechanical characterisation techniques such as nanoindentation and ion beam microscopy, and tomography for 3D reconstructions of regions of interest, were used.



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