Development of Novel High-aspect-ratio Nanofillers for Dental Composites

Investigators: Hao Li, UMC-Engineering (PI); Qingsong Yu, UMC-Engineering (Co-PI); Yong Wang, UMKC-Dentistry (Co-PI)
The objective of this project is to develop novel fiber-like ceramic nanofillers that will significantly outperform the existing nanofillers used in dental composites. To date, nanofillers, such as silica or silicate nanoparticles, have provided only incremental improvements in mechanical properties and clinical behavior as compared to microfilled composites. We propose to synthesize fiber-like hydroxyapatite (HA) and silicon carbide (SiC) fillers for dental composites using biomimetic and engineering approaches. The rationale for using such materials is: 1) the mechanical strength of ceramic nanofibers and nanoplates is in inverse proportion to the square root of their diameter or thickness and will reach the maximum/theoretical value in nanoscale; and 2) the load transfer is roughly proportional to the aspect ratio up to a maximum value. Such fillers will be much stronger and can also carry more loads in composites. The work can lay the foundation for development of novel fiber-like ceramic nanofillers for dental composites with improved mechanical properties, durability, and/or biocompatibility. Moreover, the knowledge gained in this project benefits research in other fields, such as hard tissue engineering and development of replacement materials/constructs for these tissues..