Cyclic voltammetry of dental amalgams

Noriko Horasawa, Hiroshi Nakajima, Jack L. Ferracane, Shigeo Takahashi, Toru Okabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objectives. This study used cyclic voltammetry to examine the effect of the composition of dental amalgams on their electrochemical behavior, including reactions occurring outside of oral conditions. Methods. Amalgams (residual mercury 47.5%) were prepared using two low-copper (3 wt% Cu) powders and five high-copper powders (40-80 wt% Ag, 12-30 wt% Cu) with and without zinc (1.5 wt%). Cyclic voltammograms were obtained at 37°C in 1.0% NaCl scanning at 2 mV/s in the potential range from -1.5 V to +0.8 V vs. Ag/AgCl. Results. During the anodic scans, AgCl and Hg2Cl2 films were formed on all amalgams except the one with only 40 wt% Ag. In all high-copper amalgams, a prominent Cu (oxidation) peak was found at -0.1 V. indicating the release of copper during corrosion. Zinc affected the oxidation process for both low- and high-copper amalgams. When zinc was absent, a peak for Sn2+ oxidation appeared at -0.4 V. When zinc was present, a Sn4+ oxidation peak was revealed at -0.6 V. In some amalgams, there was evidence of the selective corrosion (pitting corrosion) of tin and copper. In the lowest silver-content amalgam, no protective films were formed, which is indicative of its poor corrosion resistance. As expected, in all the low-copper amalgams, an extreme increase in current density was recorded immediately at 0 V, due to the release of tin from γ2. Significance. Cyclic voltammetry is useful for the rapid examination (less than an hour) of the electrochemical behavior of amalgams, specifically to obtain information on the formation of compounds and the sequences of electrochemical reactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalDental Materials
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Dentistry(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


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