Interface effects on mechanical properties of particle-reinforced composites.

Research paper by S S Debnath, R R Ranade, S L SL Wunder, J J McCool, K K Boberick, G G Baran

Indexed on: 09 Jul '04Published on: 09 Jul '04Published in: Dental Materials


Effective bonding between the filler and matrix components typically improves the mechanical properties of polymer composites containing inorganic fillers. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that composite flexural modulus, flexure strength, and toughness are directly proportional to filler-matrix interfacial shear strength.The resin matrix component of the experimental composite consisted of a 60:40 blend of BisGMA:TEGDMA. Two levels of photoinitiator components were used: 0.15, and 0.5%. Raman spectroscopy was used to determine degree of cure, and thermogravimetry (TGA) was used to quantify the degree of silane, rubber, or polymer attachment to silica and glass particles. Filler-matrix interfacial shear strengths were measured using a microbond test. Composites containing glass particles with various surface treatments were prepared and the modulus, flexure strength, and fracture toughness of these materials obtained using standard methods. Mechanical properties were measured on dry and soaked specimens.The interfacial strength was greatest for the 5% MPS treated silica, and it increased for polymers prepared with 0.5% initiator compared with 0.15% initiator concentrations. For the mechanical properties measured, the authors found that: (1) the flexural modulus was independent of the type of filler surface treatment, though flexural strength and toughness were highest for the silanated glass; (2) rubber at the interface, whether bonded to the filler and matrix or not, did not improve toughness; (3) less grafting of resin to silanated filler particles was observed when the initiator concentration decreased.These findings suggest that increasing the strength of the bond between filler and matrix will not result in improvements in the mechanical properties of particulate-reinforced composites in contrast to fiber-reinforced composites. Also, contraction stresses in the 0.5 vs 0.15% initiator concentration composites may be responsible for increases in interfacial shear strengths, moduli, and flexural strengths.