Wear Mechanisms of Glass-Infiltrated Alumina Sliding Against Alumina in Water

M. Kalin, S. Jahanmir, and G. Drazic, “Wear Mechanisms of Glass-Infiltrated Alumina Sliding Against Alumina in Water,” Journal of the American Ceramic Society, 88 (2005) 346-352.

Glass-infiltrated alumina is now commonly used as a core material in dental restorations. If the veneer layer, which covers the core, is broken or damaged through use, a direct contact between the core and the opposing restorative material or human enamel can occur. The wear behavior in simulated contacts with human enamel has already been studied. In the present work, we have investigated the wear mechanisms of glass-infiltrated alumina in contact with a high-purity alumina as an opposing ceramic restoration. Wear tests were performed in a pin-on-disk tribometer under conditions that roughly resemble those in the oral environment. The wear rates of the alumina balls and the glass-infiltrated disks sliding in water increased linearly with load. No wear transition (i.e., a sudden increase in wear) was observed as either the load or the sliding distance was increased. Examination of the wear debris in the SEM suggested the presence of wear particles that are often attributed to the formation of hydrated aluminum oxide through tribochemical reactions between water and alumina. While tribochemical wear was the dominating wear mechanism for the alumina balls, microfracture and delamination governed the wear behavior of the glass-infiltrated alumina disks. Examination of the surface layers formed on the disk wear tracks confirmed the presence of amorphous hydrated alumina on the wear track. It is suggested that these reaction products smear on the wear track filling the pores produced by microfracture and delamination. The high wear resistance of glass-infiltrated alumina is attributed to the presence of hydrated alumina in the third body layer that accommodates the interfacial shear stresses and the high strength due to strong bonding between the glass phase and alumina grains. Based on the observed wear resistance of glass-infiltrated alumina in the present study, this material should be evaluated for applications in addition to dental restorations.

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