Previous studies mostly focused on the sliding wear behavior of human teeth, and little effort has been made so far to study the impact wear of human teeth. The objective of this study was to investigate the impact wear process and mechanism of human tooth enamel and the influence of water content within enamel. In this paper, the impact wear behaviors of fresh and dried human tooth enamel against SiC ceramic have been investigated using a specially designed impact test machine. Tests lasting up to 5×103, 5×104, 2.5×105, 5.5×105, 8×105 and 1×106 cycles were conducted, respectively. Results showed that for the fresh enamel, the surface damage was dominated by plastic deformation at the early stage of impact wear. Iridescent rings appeared around the impact mark as a result of the accumulation and spread of plastic deformation. As the impact wear progressed, delamination occurred on the surface of enamel, and thus the iridescent rings gradually disappeared. Wear loss increased rapidly with the increase of impact cycles. When a wear particle layer was formed on the enamel surface, the wear rate decreased. It was found that the surface hardness of enamel increased with the impact cycles, and no cracks appeared on the cross section of wear scar. Compared with the fresh enamel, the fracture toughness of dried enamel decreased, and thus there were microcracks appearing on the cross section of wear scar. More obvious delamination occurred on the worn surface of dried enamel, and no iridescent rings were observed. The wear loss of dried enamel was higher than that of fresh enamel. In summary, the impact wear behavior of sound human tooth enamel was metal-like to some degree, and no subsurface cracking occurred. The water content within enamel could increase its fracture toughness and protect the surface from impact wear. The wear mechanism of human tooth enamel is determined by its microstructure.
Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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