Toughening by revitrification of Li2SiO3 crystals in Obsidian® dental glass-ceramic

Lubauer J, Hurle K, Cicconi MR, Petschelt A, Peterlik H, Lohbauer U, Belli R (2021)

Publication Type: Journal article

Publication year: 2021


Book Volume: 124

Article Number: 104739

DOI: 10.1016/j.jmbbm.2021.104739


As a predominantly lithium-metasilicate-containing glass-ceramic, Obsidian® (Glidewell Laboratories, USA) has a peculiar composition and microstructure among other dental lithium silicates, warranting an evaluation of the crystallization process to establish relationships between microstructural evolution and mechanical properties. Blocks of the pre-crystallized material were processed into slices measuring 12 × 12 × 1.5 mm3 and subjected to the mandatory crystallization firing by interruption the heating ramp at temperatures between 700 °C and 820 °C (dwell time between 0 min and 10 min). The crystallization peaks of the base and the pre-crystallized glass were obtained by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). The coefficient of thermal expansion and the glass transition temperature were derived from differential thermal analysis (DTA). X-ray diffraction (XRD) was performed to quantify and characterize the crystal phase fraction, whose microstructural changes were visualised using FE-SEM. The ball-on-three-balls surface crack in flexure method was used to track the evolution of fracture toughness. The microstructural evolution during crystallization firing was characterized by two regimes of growth: (i) the progressive revitrification (dissolution) of the 5 μm-sized Li2SiO3 polycrystals manifested at the boundaries of nanometric single coherent scattering domains (CSDs); (ii) the non-isothermal period is marked by an Ostwald ripening process characterized by the growth of the single crystalline structures into 0.5 μm polycrystals. The decrease in the crystal fraction of Li2SiO3 crystals from 41 vol.% to 37 vol.% is accompanied by the formation of a small amount of Li3PO4 (6 vol.%), maintaining the total crystal phase fraction mostly constant. The KIc accompanied the reverse trend of crystallinity, departing from 1.63 ± 0.02 MPa√m at the pre-crystallized stage to 1.84 ± 0.06 MPa√m after 10 min at 820 °C in a linear trend. Toughening appeared counter-intuitive in view of the decreasing crystal fraction and size, to rather relate to the relaxation of the residual stresses in the interstitial glass due to the spheroidization of the initially anisotropic, elongated Li2SiO3 crystals into round, nearly equiaxed particles, as let suggest from the disappearance of the extensive microcracking.

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Lubauer, J., Hurle, K., Cicconi, M.R., Petschelt, A., Peterlik, H., Lohbauer, U., & Belli, R. (2021). Toughening by revitrification of Li2SiO3 crystals in Obsidian® dental glass-ceramic. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 124.


Lubauer, Julia, et al. "Toughening by revitrification of Li2SiO3 crystals in Obsidian® dental glass-ceramic." Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials 124 (2021).

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