Date: May 1997
Creator: Hooghan, Tejpal Kaur
Description: Dental amalgams have been used for centuries as major restorative materials for decaying teeth. Amalgams are prepared by mixing alloy particles which contain Ag, Sn, and Cu as the major constituent elements with liquid Hg. The study of microstructure is essential in understanding the setting reactions and improving the properties of amalgams. Until the work reported in this dissertation, optical microscopy (OM), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and x-ray diffractometry (XRD) were used commonly to analyze amalgam microstructures. No previous systematic transmission electron microscopy (TEM) study has been performed due to sample preparation difficulties and composite structure of dental amalgams. The goal of this research was to carry out detailed microstructural and compositional studies of dental amalgams. This was accomplished using the enhanced spatial resolution of the TEM and its associated microanalytical techniques, namely, scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM), x-ray energy dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS) and micro-microdiffraction (μμD). A new method was developed for thinning amalgam samples to electron transparency using the "wedge technique." Velvalloy, a low-Cu amalgam, and Tytin, a high-Cu amalgam, were the two amalgams characterized. Velvalloy is composed of a Ag₂Hg₃ (γ₁)/HgSn₇₋₉ (γ₂) matrix surrounding unreacted Ag₃Sn (γ) particles. In addition, hitherto uncharacterized reaction layers between Ag₃Sn(γ)/Ag₂Hg₃ (γ₂) and ...
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