This study evaluated the effect of core-design modification on the characteristic strength and failure modes of glass-infiltrated alumina (In-Ceram) (ICA) compared with porcelain fused to metal (PFM). Premolar crowns of a standard design (PFMs and ICAs) or with a modified framework design (PFMm and ICAm) were fabricated, cemented on dies, and loaded until failure. The crowns were loaded at 0.5 mm min-1 using a 6.25 mm tungsten-carbide ball at the central fossa. Fracture load values were recorded and fracture analysis of representative samples were evaluated using scanning electron microscopy. Probability Weibull curves with two-sided 90% confidence limits were calculated for each group and a contour plot of the characteristic strength was obtained. Design modification showed an increase in the characteristic strength of the PFMm and ICAm groups, with PFM groups showing higher characteristic strength than ICA groups. The PFMm group showed the highest characteristic strength among all groups. Fracture modes of PFMs and of PFMm frequently reached the core interface at the lingual cusp, whereas ICA exhibited bulk fracture through the alumina core. Core-design modification significantly improved the characteristic strength for PFM and for ICA. The PFM groups demonstrated higher characteristic strength than both ICA groups combined.
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