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Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry

Impact of laser parameters on additively manufactured cobalt-chromium restorations

Published:February 17, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prosdent.2020.11.043

      Abstract

      Statement of problem

      The selective laser melting (SLM) process has become popular for the fabrication of frameworks for metal-ceramic restorations, although their surface roughness is greater than with cast or milled frameworks. Limited information is available regarding the surface mechanical characteristics of cobalt-chromium (Co-Cr) SLM-manufactured restorations.

      Purpose

      The purpose of this in vitro study was to adapt the laser parameters for a remelting strategy, scanning the outer boundary of Co-Cr specimens, to reduce surface roughness and solidification defects, to determine microhardness, to investigate surface morphology and microstructure, and to establish surface mechanical characteristics.

      Material and methods

      Co-Cr specimens were SLM manufactured by using a typical melting (TM) strategy and an adaptive remelting (AR) strategy. The AR strategy involves rescanning 50% of the contour, varying the laser parameters. The roughness parameters considered were Ra and Rz. Vickers hardness was measured by microindentation with a 9.81-N force (ASTM E384-17). The surface morphology was investigated by scanning electron microscopy, the chemical composition by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and the phase identification by using X-ray diffraction. The mechanical surface properties measured were the nanohardness, elastic modulus, and dissipation energy. One-way ANOVA with the Tukey procedure was used to compare the groups (α=.05).

      Results

      The innovative AR strategy reduced the surface roughness by 45% compared with TM, comparable with their cast counterpart. The smoothest AR surface was obtained by using 75 W and 350 mm/s for the first scanning of the contour, followed by a second remelting with 80 W and 700 mm/s. The microstructure of AR specimens had limited solidification defects, a chemical composition similar to that of raw powder, and a surface microhardness over 600 HV1. A fine grain structure in a single matrix phase was detected both on TM and AR specimens. The mechanical characteristics of the smoothest Co-Cr surface were 218 GPa elastic modulus, 746 HVIT Vickers nanohardness, 21 243 pJ plastic energy, and 26% nanoindentation work ratio. Significant differences were observed between the melting strategies (P<.05) both for surface roughness and microhardness.

      Conclusions

      The laser scanning strategy affects both the surface roughness and the hardness of SLM-manufactured specimens. The results show that using the AR strategy and proper laser parameters can reduce the roughness and increase the surface hardness of Co-Cr specimens made of conventional powder feedstock.
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