Effects of geometry on fracture initiation and propagation in all-ceramic crowns

E. Dianne Rekow, Guangming Zhang, Thompson Van Thompson, Jae Won Kim, Paulo Coehlo, Yu Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The complex and patient-unique geometry of posterior all-ceramic dental crowns represents a particularly interesting set of challenges to understanding stress concentration and fracture evolution in response to loading. A series of numerical and physical experiments, with both single cycle and fatigue loading, show that geometry profoundly influences the stress concentration and fracture initiation and propagation. In stylized crowns with uniform axial wall height, stresses concentrate beneath the indenter. As the height of the axial wall increases, loads to cause failure increase linearly. In crowns with variation in axial wall height around the periphery, stresses concentrate both beneath the indenter and at the margin of the core ceramic. The magnitude of the stress concentration at the margin is directly related to the amount of variation in axial wall height around the periphery of the crown. Anatomically correct veneered zirconia core crowns subjected to single-cycle loads, fracture in areas of greatest stress concentration identified by finite element models. Fractures and stress concentrations that occur in response to single-cycle loading are important indicators of initiation sites for fatigue failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-446
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • Axial wall height
  • Dental crowns
  • Fracture
  • Geometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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