Reduced Mercury Vapor Release from Dental Amalgams Prepared with Binary Hg-In Liquid Alloys

T. Okabe, T. Yamashita, H. Nakajima, A. Berglund, L. Zhao, I. Guo, J. L. Ferracane

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22 Scopus citations


For the past ten years, the amounts of mercury vapor released from dental amalgams and the possibility of side-effects caused by these amounts have been discussed. Although no adverse health effects have been substantiated from these minute amounts, besides rare cases of allergies, this release should be reduced. The aim of this study was to reduce the mercury evaporation from a high-copper amalgam during setting by triturating the alloy powder with binary Hg-In liquid alloys having various indium concentrations set at 0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 wt%. Specimens (n = 4) were made for each amalgam according to ANSI/ADA Specification #1 and placed into a measuring chamber kept at 36.5 ± 0.5'C, through which a continuous air flow of 0.75 L/min was pumped. The total mercury release was measured during the setting period, according to the method described by Ferracane et al. (1992). Four additional specimens were prepared from a modified 14% Indisperse amalgam powder for the purpose of comparison. The results showed that the release of mercury vapor decreased with increasing indium concentrations, and that the amalgams made with the Hg-In liquid alloy with 10% In or more released significantly less mercury than the modified 14% Indisperse. The method of mixing indium in mercury prior to trituration appeared to be another effective method for reducing mercury evaporation during setting. The reduced mercury release may be explained by a reduction of mercury concentration in the structure, a reduction of vapor pressure for the mercury in the matrix phases, or more efficient formation of a surface oxide layer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1711-1716
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of dental research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1994


  • Dental Amalgam
  • Dental Materials
  • Mercury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dentistry(all)


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