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Graf, Niklas; Ilie, Nicoleta (2020): Long-Term Stability of a RAFT-Modified Bulk-Fill Resin-Composite under Clinically Relevant versus ISO-Curing Conditions. In: Materials, Vol. 13, No. 23, 5350
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The addition of RAFT (reversible addition-fragmentation chain transfer) agents to the matrix formulation of a bulk-fill resin composite can significantly decrease the required curing time down to a minimum of 3 s. Evaluating the long term-stability of this resin composite in relation to varied curing conditions in an in-vitro environment was this study's goal. Specimens were produced according to either an ISO or one of two clinical curing protocols and underwent a maximum of three successive aging procedures. After each one of the aging procedures, 30 specimens for each curing condition were extracted for a three-point bending test. Fragments were then stereo-microscopically characterized according to their fracture mechanism. Weibull analysis was used to quantify the reliability of each aging and curing combination. Selected fragments (n = 12) underwent further testing via depth-sensing indentation. Mechanical values for either standardized or clinical curing were mostly comparable. However, changes in fracture mechanism and Weibull modulus were observed after each aging procedure. The final procedure exposed significant differences in the mechanical values due to curing conditions. Curing conditions with increased radiant exposure seemingly result in a higher crosslink in the polymer-matrix, thus increasing resistance to aging. Yet, the clinical curing conditions still resulted in acceptable mechanical values, proving the effectiveness of RAFT-polymerization.