Effect of Admixed High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Spheres on Contraction Stress and Properties of Experimental Composites

Jack L. Ferracane, L. L. Ferracane, R. R. Braga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Additives that provide stress relief may be incorporated into dental composites to reduce contraction stress (CS). This study attempted to test the hypothesis that conventional fillers could be replaced by high-density polyethylene (HDPE) spheres in hybrid and nanofill composites to reduce CS, but with minimal effect on mechanical properties. Nanofill and hybrid composites were made from a Bis-GMA/TEGDMA resin having either all silica nanofiller or 75 wt.% strontium glass + 5 wt.% silica and replacing some of the nanofiller or the glass with 0%, 5% (hybrid only), 10% or 20 wt.% HDPE. The surface of the HDPE was either left untreated or had a reactive gas surface treatment (RGST). Contraction stress (CS) was monitored for 10 min in a tensilometer (n = 5) after light curing for 60 s at 390 mW/cm2. Other specimens (n = 5) were light cured 40 s from two sides in a light-curing unit and aged 1 d in water before testing fracture toughness (K1c), flexure strength (FS), and modulus (E). Results were analyzed by ANOVA with Tukey's multiple comparison test at p < 0.05. There was no difference between composites with RGST and untreated HDPE except for FS-10% HDPE hybrid (RGST higher). An increased level of HDPE reduced contraction stress for both types of composites. Flexure strength, modulus (hybrid only), and fracture toughness were also reduced as the concentration of HDPE increased. SEM showed evidence for HDPE debonding and plastic deformation during fracture of the hybrid composites. In conclusion, the addition of HDPE spheres reduces contraction stress in composites, either through stress relief or a reduction in elastic modulus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-323
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 15 2003


  • Composite
  • Fracture
  • HDPE
  • Modulus
  • Stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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