Fatigue and damage tolerance of Y-TZP ceramics in layered biomechanical systems

Yu Zhang, Antonia Pajares, Brian R. Lawn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The fatigue properties of fine-grain Y-TZP in cyclic flexural testing are studied. Comparative tests on a coarser-grain alumina provide a baseline control. A bilayer configuration with ceramic plates bonded to a compliant polymeric substrate and loaded with concentrated forces at the top surfaces, simulating basic layer structures in dental crowns and hip replacement prostheses, is used as a basic test specimen. Critical times to initiate radial crack failure at the ceramic undersurfaces at prescribed maximum surface loads are measured for Y-TZP with as-polished surfaces, mechanically predamaged undersurfaces, and after a thermal aging treatment. No differences in critical failure conditions are observed between monotonic and cyclic loading on as-polished surfaces, or between as-polished and mechanically damaged surfaces in monotonic loading, consistent with fatigue controlled by slow crack growth. However, the data for mechanically damaged and aged specimens show substantial declines in sustainable stresses and times to failure in cyclic loading, indicating an augmenting role of mechanical and thermal processes in certain instances. In all cases, however, the sustainable stresses in the Y-TZP remain higher than that of the alumina, suggesting that with proper measures to avoid inherent structural instabilities, Y-TZP could provide superior performance in biomechanical applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)166-171
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 15 2004


  • Bilayers
  • Brittle coatings
  • Cracking
  • Critical stresses
  • Dental crowns
  • Total hip replacements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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