The influence of grain size on low-temperature degradation of dental zirconia


  • How to cite this article: Hallmann L, Mehl A, Ulmer P, Reusser E, Stadler J, Zenobi R, Stawarczyk B, Özcan M, Hämmerle CHF. 2012. The influence of grain size on low-temperature degradation of dental zirconia. J Biomed Mater Res Part B 2012:100B:447–456.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of grain size and air abrasion on low-temperature degradation (LTD) of yttria stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystalline (Y-TZP). Disc-shaped specimens were sintered at 1350, 1450, and 1600°C. Air abrasion was performed with different abrasive particles. The specimens were stored for 2 h at 134°C under 2.3 bar water vapor pressure. All specimens were characterized by X-ray powder diffraction analysis (XRD), Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), atomic force microscopy (AFM), and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM). Y-TZP sintered at a temperature of 1350°C did not undergo the t–m phase transformation during accelerated aging. The diffusion-controlled t–m phase transformation initiated with the specimens sintered at 1450°C. This transformation was remarkable for the specimens sintered at 1600°C. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) measurements did not confirm the generation of Zr-OH and Y-OH bonds. No increase of yttrium concentration on the grain boundaries of Y-TZP was detected, which could be responsible for the destabilization of dental zirconia ceramics. A slight increase of diffusion-controlled t–m phase transformations was observed for all abraded specimens sintered at 1350 and 1450°C. The size of abrasive particles did not play a crucial role on LTD of Y-TZP. The retardation of diffusion-controlled t–m phase transformation was evident for all abraded specimens sintered at 1600°C by comparison to non-abraded specimens. Conclusion: The LTD of Y-TZP can be suppressed when the sintering temperature is set between 1350 and 1450°C. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater 100B: 447–456, 2012.