Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry
Research and Education| Volume 127, ISSUE 4, P651-658, April 2022

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Effect of layer thickness on the flexural strength of multiple-unit laser-sintered metal frameworks

Published:February 24, 2021DOI:


      Statement of problem

      Laser sintering devices have been increasingly used to fabricate the metal frameworks of metal–ceramic restorations. In the fabrication process, the sintering layer thickness is an important parameter; however, information on how it may affect the flexural strength of metal frameworks remains limited.


      The purpose of this in vitro study was to evaluate the flexural strength of 3-unit and 4-unit cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) metal frameworks laser sintered with 20-μm, 30-μm, and 40-μm layer thicknesses.

      Material and methods

      Three-unit and 4-unit master metal die models with premolar and molar abutments were prepared through direct metal laser sintering (DMLS). A total of 40 metal frameworks (n=10 for each metal die model) were fabricated by the lost-wax technique (group C, served as the control group) and through DMLS with 20-μm, 30-μm, and 40-μm layer thickness (experimental groups LS20, LS30, and LS40, respectively). Each metal framework was cemented to a master die with a polyvinyl siloxane impression material and then subjected to a 3-point bend test at a crosshead speed of 1 mm/min. The yield force of each metal framework was used to calculate the flexural strength. Data were statistically analyzed by using 1-way ANOVA followed by a Tukey honestly significant difference (HSD) test and an independent-samples t test (α=.05) The microstructure of the fracture surface was evaluated by scanning electron microscopy.


      Group C reported the lowest mean flexural strength (P<.05), whereas group LS20 reported the highest mean flexural strength, although no significant difference (P>.05) in flexural strength was observed among the DMLS groups. The 3-unit metal frameworks exhibited a statistically significant higher mean flexural strength than the 4-unit metal frameworks (P<.05).


      The sintering layer thickness did not significantly affect the flexural strength of the laser-sintered metal frameworks. However, the DMLS groups reported a higher mean flexural strength than the cast group.
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