Statement of problem
Cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) alloys possess beneficial mechanical properties because alloys, even in thin sections, can resist high mastication forces and exhibit an acceptable bond to the surface porcelain layer. Traditional manufacturing techniques of Co-Cr alloys such as casting have been replaced with newer fabrication techniques, such as milling, laser melting, and presintered milling. Despite scarce documentation, these new manufacturing techniques are being used to fabricate dental and implant constructions.
This in vitro study investigates the hardness, yield strength, elastic modulus, and microstructure of the most commonly used Co-Cr alloys for fixed prosthodontics based on manufacturing technique. In addition, this study investigates the effect of heat treatment on the mechanical properties and microstructure of these materials.
Material and methods
Five Co-Cr alloys were included (dumbbell and rectangular shaped) based on four manufacturing techniques: cast, milled, laser melted, and presintered milled. Commercially pure titanium grade 4 and titanium-6 aluminum-4 vanadium ELI (extra low interstitial) were included for comparison, and yield strength and elongation after fracture were evaluated. The specimens were tested for hardness using the Vickers test and for elastic modulus using a nondestructive impulse excitation technique. The microstructure of selected specimens was analyzed using focused ion beam-scanning electron microscopy (FIB-SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS).
The mechanical properties depend on the manufacturing technique used; the laser-melted and presintered Co-Cr specimens demonstrated the highest mechanical properties, followed by the milled and cast groups. Both the laser-melted and the presintered milled Co-Cr specimens showed smaller grain size compared with the cast and milled Co-Cr specimens. The titanium-6 aluminum-4 vanadium ELI demonstrated higher hardness and yield strength compared to commercially pure titanium grade 4. No major differences were observed for the selected materials regarding the mechanical properties and microstructural appearance after heat treatment.
The laser melting and presintered milling techniques produced higher mechanical properties compared with the cast and milled Co-Cr. These findings were confirmed through microstructural analysis with respect to the grain size, precipitation, and number of pores.
Cobalt-chromium alloys in fixed prosthodontics: Investigations of mechanical properties and microstructure
Kassapidou M, Stenport VF, Johansson CB, Syverud M, Johansson PH, Börjesson J, Hjalmarsson L
The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry 23 June 2023