Objectives To provide a brief summary of the background theory of interfacial fracture mechanics and develop an analytical framework that identifies the critical factors for the analysis of the initiation and propagation of adhesion failure in composite restorations.
Methods A conceptual framework utilizing interfacial fracture mechanics and Toya's solution for a partially delaminated circular inclusion in an elastic matrix, which can be applied (with caution) to approximate polymer curing induced cracking about composite resins for class 1 cavity restorations.
Results The findings indicate that: (1) most traditional shear tests are not appropriate for the analysis of the interfacial failure initiation; (2) material properties of the restorative and tooth material have a strong influence on the energy realize rate; (3) there is a strong size effect; and (4) interfacial failure once initiated is characterized by unstable propagation along the interface almost completely encircling the composite.
Significance The work is important for the analysis of the reliability of composite class I restorations and provides an adequate interpretation of recent adhesion debonding experimental results utilizing tubular geometry of specimens. The approach clearly identifies the critical parameters including; curing strain, material modulii, size and interfacial strain energy release rate for reliable development of advanced restorative materials.