The fracture toughness of a variety of dental composites was evaluated using notched bending specimens, with and without pre-cracks. The pre-crack simulates more accurately a sharp, natural flaw in a material than does a notch, and is standard procedure in fracture-toughness evaluation. The fracture toughness was related to the filler composition and degree of conversion in the composite resins. In general, fracture toughness was highest in the more heavily filled resins, independent of degree of conversion in the matrix. The results also show that producing a pre-crack in certain composites reduced the value of their fracture toughness compared with notched-only specimens.
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