Application of particle-induced X-ray emission, backscattering spectrometry and scanning electron microscopy in the evaluation of orthodontic materials

15 Jul 2016

The focus of this investigation was on orthodontic materials used in the manufacture of dental brackets. The properties of these dental materials are subjected to various physical parameters such as elongation, yield strength and elasticity that justify their application. In turn, these parameters depend on the quantitative elemental concentration distribution (QECD) in the materials used in the manufacture. For compositional analysis, proton-induced X-ray emission (PIXE), backscatter spectrometry (BS) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were applied. QECD analysis was performed to correlate the physical parameters with the composition and to quantify imperfections in the materials. PIXE and BS analyses were performed simultaneously with a 3 MeV proton beam while electrons accelerated at 25 keV were used for the SEM analysis. From the QECDs it was observed that: (1) the major elements Cr, Fe and Ni were homogeneously distributed in the orthodontic plate; (2) the distribution of Mo and O correlated with one another; (3) there was a spread of Cr around regions of high C concentration; and, (4) areas of high concentrations of Mo and O corresponded to a decrease in C concentrations. Elemental concentration correlations are shown to indicate the similarities and differences in the ease of formation of phases, based on the tangent of linearity.