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J Biomed Mater Res B Appl Biomater. 2015 Oct;103(7):1519-23. doi: 10.1002/jbm.b.33334. Epub 2014 Dec 1.

Phase transformation of dental zirconia following artificial aging.

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Department of Biomaterials, School of Dentistry, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.
Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.



Low-temperature degradation (LTD) of yttria-stabilized zirconia can produce increased surface roughness with a concomitant decrease in strength. This study determined the effectiveness of artificial aging (prolonged boiling/autoclaving) to induce LTD of Y-TZP (yttria-tetragonal zirconia-polycrystals) and used artificial aging for transformation depth progression analyses. The null hypothesis is aging techniques tested produce the same amount of transformation, transformation is not time/temperature dependent and LTD causes a constant transformation throughout the Y-TZP samples.


Dental-grade Y-TZP samples were randomly divided into nine subgroups (n = 5): as received, 3.5 and 7 day boiling, 1 bar autoclave (1, 3, 5 h), and 2 bar autoclave (1, 3, 5 h). A 4-h boil treatment (n = 2) was performed post-experiment for completion of data. Transformation was measured using traditional X-ray diffraction and low-angle X-ray diffraction.


The fraction of t → m transformation increased with aging time. The 3.5 day boil and 2 bar 5 h autoclave produced similar transformation results, while the 7 day boiling treatment revealed the greatest transformation. The surface layer of the aged specimen underwent the most transformation while all samples displayed decreasing transformation with depth.


Surface transformation was evident, which can lead to rougher surfaces and increased wear of opposing dentition/materials. Therefore, wear studies addressing LTD of Y-TZP are needed utilizing accelerated aging.


X-ray diffraction; phase transformation; yttria stabilized; zirconia

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