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    Investigating the mechanical properties of ZrO <inf>2</inf> -impregnated PMMA nanocomposite for denture-based applications

    Zidan, S, Silikas, N, Alhotan, A, Haider, J ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7010-8285 and Yates, J (2019) Investigating the mechanical properties of ZrO <inf>2</inf> -impregnated PMMA nanocomposite for denture-based applications. Materials, 12 (8). pp. 1344-1357. ISSN 1996-1944

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    © 2019 by the authors. Acrylic resin PMMA (poly-methyl methacrylate) is used in the manufacture of denture bases but its mechanical properties can be deficient in this role. This study investigated the mechanical properties (flexural strength, fracture toughness, impact strength, and hardness) and fracture behavior of a commercial, high impact (HI), heat-cured denture base acrylic resin impregnated with different concentrations of yttria-stabilized zirconia (ZrO 2 ) nanoparticles. Six groups were prepared having different wt% concentrations of ZrO 2 nanoparticles: 0% (control), 1.5%, 3%, 5%, 7%, and 10%, respectively. Flexural strength and flexural modulus were measured using a three-point bending test and surface hardness was evaluated using the Vickers hardness test. Fracture toughness and impact strength were evaluated using a single edge bending test and Charpy impact instrument. The fractured surfaces of impact test specimens were also observed using a scanning electron microscope (SEM). Statistical analyses were conducted on the data obtained from the experiments. The mean flexural strength of ZrO 2 /PMMA nanocomposites (84 ± 6 MPa) at 3 wt% zirconia was significantly greater than that of the control group (72 ± 9 MPa) (p < 0.05). The mean flexural modulus was also significantly improved with different concentrations of zirconia when compared to the control group, with 5 wt% zirconia demonstrating the largest (23%) improvement. The mean fracture toughness increased in the group containing 5 wt% zirconia compared to the control group, but it was not significant. However, the median impact strength for all groups containing zirconia generally decreased when compared to the control group. Vickers hardness (HV) values significantly increased with an increase in ZrO 2 content, with the highest values obtained at 10 wt%, at 0 day (22.9 HV 0.05 ) in dry conditions when compared to the values obtained after immersing the specimens for seven days (18.4 HV 0.05 ) and 45 days (16.3 HV 0.05 ) in distilled water. Incorporation of ZrO 2 nanoparticles into high impact PMMA resin significantly improved flexural strength, flexural modulus, fracture toughness and surface hardness, with an optimum concentration of 3-5 wt% zirconia. However, the impact strength of the nanocomposites decreased, apart from the 5 wt% zirconia group.

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