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Dent Mater. 2008 Apr;24(4):556-60. doi: 10.1016/

A model for shrinkage strain in photo polymerization of dental composites.

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Clinic of Dentistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Novi Sad, Serbia.



We formulate a new model for the shrinkage strain developed during photo polymerization in dental composites. The model is based on the diffusion type fractional order equation, since it has been proved that polymerization reaction is diffusion controlled (Atai M, Watts DC. A new kinetic model for the photo polymerization shrinkage-strain of dental composites and resin-monomers. Dent Mater 2006;22:785-91). Our model strongly confirms the observation by Atai and Watts (see reference details above) and their experimental results. The shrinkage strain is modeled by a nonlinear differential equation in (see reference details above) and that equation must be solved numerically. In our approach, we use the linear fractional order differential equation to describe the strain rate due to photo polymerization. This equation is solved exactly.


As shrinkage is a consequence of the polymerization reaction and polymerization reaction is diffusion controlled, we postulate that shrinkage strain rate is described by a diffusion type equation. We find explicit form of solution to this equation and determine the strain in the resin monomers. Also by using equations of linear viscoelasticity, we determine stresses in the polymer due to the shrinkage. The time evolution of stresses implies that the maximal stresses are developed at the very beginning of the polymerization process.


The stress in a dental composite that is light treated has the largest value short time after the treatment starts. The strain settles at the constant value in the time of about 100s (for the cases treated in Atai and Watts). From the model developed here, the shrinkage strain of dental composites and resin monomers is analytically determined. The maximal value of stresses is important, since this value must be smaller than the adhesive bond strength at cavo-restoration interface. The maximum stress determined here depends on the diffusivity coefficient. Since diffusivity coefficient increases as polymerization proceeds, it follows that the periods of light treatments should be shorter at the beginning of the treatment and longer at the end of the treatment, with dark interval between the initial low intensity and following high intensity curing. This is because at the end of polymerization the stress relaxation cannot take place.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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