Bio-inspired Architectural Design of Dental Restorative Composite for Enhanced Fracture Resistance

Project: Research

View graph of relations


Dental restorative composite (DRC) has drawn extensive business and research and development (R&D) interests in recent decades for its beneficial effects on people’s health. Meanwhile, due to high standard of safety and aesthetics, the widely utilized DRCs are made by resin-based composites reinforced by ceramic fillers. Compared to that of human teeth and metallic dental restorative materials, fracture resistance to occlusal load of the current DRC is far from satisfactory, which hinders the utilization of DRC and counteracts its beneficial effects to patients and dental industry. This project proposes a bio-inspired architectural design to address above difficulty. Inspired by the superior fracture resistance of human teeth attributed to their nonuniform mechanical properties, DRCs with non-uniform mechanical properties will be developed by an architectural design in the goal of enhancing fracture resistance while maintaining material composition and feasible mechanical behaviors, such as tooth-like rigidity and strength, of the current DRC. Following research tasks will be carried out to reach this goal. Firstly, a new process invented by PI’s preliminary work will be adopted to fabricate bio-inspired and conventional DRCs. Secondly, standardized experiments and state-of-the-art microscopies will be conducted to characterize mechanical behavior of specimens. Thirdly, finite element analysis (FEA) models will be constructed to simulate deformation and cracking of bio-inspired DRC and validated by comparing with experimental results obtained by the PI’s preliminary work. Fourthly, validated FEA models will be utilized to compare the performance of the DRCs with different architectures. Architectural design facilitated by Ashby’s chart will be conducted to select optimal architecture(s) which enhance fracture resistance while maintaining material composition and feasible mechanical behaviors. Lastly, the optimal structure achieved through FEA will be fabricated and confirmed by standardized mechanical experiments. In summary, this project will conduct comprehensive research that combines fabrication, mechanical experiments, materials selection, and computational simulation. A mechanistically determined, computation/modeling guided, and experimentally validated design framework will be constructed for the R&D of the next generation of fracture resistant DRCs. Long-term wise, the methodologies and concepts established by this project will benefit the R&D of polymer-based composites in various applications. 


Project number9043547
Grant typeGRF
Effective start/end date1/09/23 → …