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Objectives: A crucial step in the preparation of yttria-stabilized zirconia materials (YSZ) is the final sintering step. Sintering parameters affect phase composition, grain growth and porosity of the material which, in turn, influence both mechanical and optical properties. Discrepancies of +/- 5% are common between actual and displayed firing temperatures depending on sintering furnace brand and condition. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate how such sintering temperature deviations in dental furnaces compared to the recommended firing protocols affected certain material properties of different yttria-stabilized zirconia materials.
Methods: Disc- shaped specimens were made from four different translucent and high translucent YSZ-powders and analysed regarding crystal structure; unit cell volume for the c, t, and t’ -phases along with the tetragonality for the t and t’ phases. Biaxial flexure strength and the spectral transmittance through the ceramic specimens were also measured.
Results: Deviations of 5% from the sintering temperature recommended for YSZ materials with different yttria content influenced material properties such as light transmittance, flexural strength, crystal phase fractions, tetragonality, and grain growth. Too low temperatures resulted in decreased strength for some of the translucent zirconia materials, while others where less affected. Light transmittance varied depending on several factors such as grain size, crystal phase fractions and binder content in the start material prior to pre-sintering.
Significance: The use of high quality, wellcalibrated furnaces is crucial with sintering YSZ materials to avoid unwanted material changes.
Conclusions: Deviations of 5% from the sintering temperature recommended for YSZ materials with different yttria content influence material properties such as light transmittance, flexural strength, crystal phase fractions, tetragonality, and grain growth. Too low temperature results in decreased strength for some translucent zirconia materials, while others are less affected. Light transmittance varies depending on several factors such as grain size, crystal phase fractions and binder content in the start material prior to pre-sintering. Consequently, the use of high quality, well-calibrated furnaces is crucial when sintering YSZ materials to avoid unwanted material changes.

Reference
Sintering temperature accuracy and its effect on translucent yttria-stabilized zirconia: Flexural strength, crystal structure, tetragonality and light transmission.
Vult von Steyen P, Bruzell E, Vos L, Andersen FS, Ruud A
Dental Materials
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dental.2022.04