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J Korean Acad Prosthodont. 1998 Oct;36(5):772-785. Korean. Original Article.
Dong JK , Oh SC .
Department of Prosthodontics, College of Dentistry, Wonkwang University, Korea.

This study was undertaken to clarify the microstructure of the different IPS Empress ingots by etching and to observe the change of leucite crystal structure according to subsequent heat treatment and the crystal distribution according to sprue types(0 2.8mm, single sprue; 0 1.8mm, double sprue) by scanning electron microscopy. IPS Empress T1, O1 ingots used for staining technique, and Dentin(A2) ingots used for layering technique were selected for this study. To observe the microstructures of these ingots before pressing, the specimens were prepared in splinters(3x3x3mm) taken from the original ingots. And to estimate crystal distribution and microstructural change by sprue type and subsequent heat treatment, the specimens(3x3x3mm) were heat-pressed through the two types of sprues with different diameters and numbers, and all specimens were fired according to the recommended firing schedule. The observed surface was ground with waterproof papers(#800~#1800) on the grind polisher and was cleaned ultrasonically. All specimen were etched with 0.5% hydrofluoric acid. After etching, the surface was treated by ion sputter coating for SEM observation at an accelerating voltage of 20kV. In all specimens, the central area of ground surface was observed because there was less difference in microstructure between the peripheral area and the central area. The results were as follows ; 1. In the microstructure according to the ingot type, there was a wide difference between the staining (T1,O1) and layering(Dentin A2) ingots, but there was not a considerable difference between the T1 ingot and the O1 ingot for staining technique. 2. In all specimens, the crystal dispersion of IPS Empress ceramic using double sprue was significantly more scattered than that of IPS Empress ceramic using single sprue. The degree of scattering was strongest in the Dentin(A2) specimen and weakest in the O1 ingot. 3. In the microstructural change according to the subsequent heat treatment, all of ingots had some microcracks in the inside of the leucite crystal and the glass matrix after pressing. The inner splinters of the leucite crystal became smaller, and more microcracks occurred in the glass matrix due to increasing heat treatment times. 4. The size of leucite crystals varied from 1micrometerto 5micrometer. The mean size of mature crystals was about 5micrometer. The form of the crystal was similar to a circle when it was smaller and similar to an ellipse when it was larger.

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