This overview is intended to highlight connections between monomer structure and the development of highly crosslinked photopolymer networks including the conversion dependent properties of shrinkage, modulus and stress.
A review is provided that combines the polymer science and dental materials literature along with examples of relevant experimental results, which include measurements of reaction kinetics, photorheology as well as polymerization shrinkage and stress.
While new monomers are continually under development for dental materials applications, mixtures of dimethacrylate monomers persist as the most common form of dental resins used on composite restorative materials. Monomer viscosity and reaction potential is derived from molecular structure and by employing real-time near-infrared spectroscopic techniques, the development of macromolecular networks is linked to the evolution of polymerization shrinkage (measured by linometer), modulus (measured by photorheometer), and stress (measured by tensometer). Relationships between the respective polymer properties are examined.
Through a better understanding of the polymer network formation and property development processes using conventional dimethacrylate monomer formulations, the rational design of improved materials is facilitated with the ultimate goal of achieving dental polymers that deliver enhanced clinical outcomes.