Mechanical properties, fracture surface characterization, and microstructural analysis of six noble dental casting alloys

Yurdanur Ucar, William A Brantley, William M Johnston, Tridib Dasgupta
Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry 2011, 105 (6): 394-402

STATEMENT OF PROBLEM: Because noble dental casting alloys for metal ceramic restorations have a wide range of mechanical properties, knowledge of these properties is needed for rational alloy selection in different clinical situations where cast metal restorations are indicated.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the mechanical properties and examine both the fracture and polished surfaces of 6 noble casting alloys that span many currently marketed systems. Five alloys were designed for metal ceramic restorations, and a sixth Type GPT has Type IV alloy for fixed prosthodontics (Maxigold KF) was included for comparison.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Specimens (n=6) meeting dimensional requirements for ISO Standards 9693 and 8891 were loaded to failure in tension using a universal testing machine at a crosshead speed of 2 mm/min. Values of 0.1% and 0.2% yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, elastic modulus, and percentage elongation were obtained. Statistical comparisons of the alloy mechanical properties were made using 1-way ANOVA and the REGW multiple-range test (α=.05). Following fracture surface characterization using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), specimens were embedded in epoxy resin, polished, and again, examined with the SEM.

RESULTS: When the multiple comparisons were considered, there were generally no significant differences in the elastic modulus, 0.1% and 0.2% offset yield strength, and ultimate tensile strength for the d.SIGN 91 (Au-Pd), d.SIGN 59 (Pd-Ag), Capricorn 15 (Pd-Ag-Au) and Maxigold KF (Au-Ag-Pd) alloys, except that the ultimate tensile strength was significantly lower (P<.05) for Maxigold KF than these other 3 alloys. These 4 mechanical properties were generally significantly lower (P<.05) for Aquarius XH (Au-Pt-Pd) and Brite Gold XH (Au-Pt). The d.SIGN 59 (14.6%) and Capricorn 15 (13.8%) alloys had the highest values of mean percentage elongation, which were not significantly different. Aquarius XH (6.0%) and Maxigold KF (4.2%) had the lower mean values of percentage elongation, which were also not significantly different. The polished and etched surfaces for all alloys revealed equiaxed, fine-grain microstructures, and all fracture surfaces contained casting porosity. Incomplete solidification suggestive of dendritic structures was observed for some alloys. Fracture surfaces were complex, with characteristic features of both brittle and ductile fracture. Precipitate particles on the fracture surfaces indicated the multi-phase character of the alloys.

CONCLUSIONS: For the important mechanical property of yield strength, there were generally no significant differences among the Au-Pd, Pd-Ag, Pd-Ag-Au and Au-Ag-Pd alloys. Wide variation was found in percentage elongation, with the Pd-Ag and Pd-Ag-Au alloys having the highest values and the Au-Pd-Pt and Au-Ag-Pd alloys having the lowest values.

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