Effect of nano-oxide concentration on the mechanical properties of a maxillofacial silicone elastomer

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Statement of problem.

Contemporary silicone-based elastomeric prostheses tend to degrade over time because of the effect of mechanical loading. Little has been reported on how the mechanical properties of a maxillofacial prosthetic elastomer may be affected by the addition of nanosized oxide particles used as an opacifier.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of different concentrations of nanosized oxides of various composition on the mechanical properties of a commercially available silicone elastomer.

Material and methods.

Nanosized oxides (Ti, Zn, or Ce) were added in various concentrations (0.5%, 1.0%, 1.5%, 2.0%, 2.5%, or 3.0% by weight) to a commercial silicone elastomer (A-2186), commonly used for fabricating extraoral maxillofacial prostheses. Silicone elastomer A-2186 without nanosized oxides served as a control group. Specimens (n=5) were polymerized according to manufacturer's recommendations and tested for tensile strength (ASTM D412) and tear strength (ASTM D624), and percent elongation in a universal testing machine. Uniformity of particle dispersion within the processed elastomer was assessed using scanning electron microscopic imaging. For each property, a 2-way ANOVA was performed evaluating the effect of oxide type and strength, and Fisher's PLSD test was used for pairwise comparisons (α=.05).


SEM examination indicated that all 3 nanosized oxides distribute evenly throughout the silicone specimens, except for the 3.0% group, which are partly agglomerated. The 2.0% and 2.5% groups of all nanosized oxides demonstrated significantly higher tensile and tear strengths and percent elongation (P<.001) than the control group. CeO2 had significantly lower tensile strength than TiO2 and ZnO (P<.05). The ZnO group had significantly higher tear strength than TiO2 and CeO2 (P <.05). Most of specimens became somewhat harder when compared with the control group. CeO2 group had significantly higher Shore A hardness than TiO2 and ZnO (P<.001). There was no significant difference of percent elongation among the type of nanosized oxides.


Incorporation of Ti, Zn, or Ce nano-oxides at concentrations of 2.0% and 2.5% improved the overall mechanical properties of the silicone A-2186 maxillofacial elastomer. (J Prosthet Dent 2008;100:465-473)

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