• Atomic and vibrational origins of mechanical toughness in bioactive cement during setting

      Tian, Kun V.; Yang, Bin; Yue, Yuan-Zheng; Bowron, Daniel T.; Mayers, Jerry; Donnan, Robert S.; Dobo-Nagy, Csaba; Nicholson, John W.; Greer, A. Lindsay; Chass, Gregory A.; et al. (Nature Publishing Group, 2015-11-09)
      Bioactive glass ionomer cements (GICs) have been in widespread use for ~40 years in dentistry and medicine. However, these composites fall short of the toughness needed for permanent implants. Significant impediment to improvement has been the requisite use of conventional destructive mechanical testing, which is necessarily retrospective. Here we show quantitatively, through the novel use of calorimetry, terahertz (THz) spectroscopy and neutron scattering, how GIC’s developing fracture toughness during setting is related to interfacial THz dynamics, changing atomic cohesion and fluctuating interfacial configurations. Contrary to convention, we find setting is non-monotonic, characterized by abrupt features not previously detected, including a glass–polymer coupling point, an early setting point, where decreasing toughness unexpectedly recovers, followed by stress-induced weakening of interfaces. Subsequently, toughness declines asymptotically to long-term fracture test values. We expect the insight afforded by these in situ non-destructive techniques will assist in raising understanding of the setting mechanisms and associated dynamics of cementitious materials.
    • The power of VNA-driven quasi-optics to sense group molecular action in condensed phase systems

      Donnan, Robert S.; Tian, Kun V.; Yang, Bin; Chass, Gregory A.; University of Chester (2014-12-08)
      The versatility for quasi-optical circuits, driven by modern vector network analysers, is demonstrated for the purpose of low energy (meV) coherent spectroscopy. One such example is shown applied to the curing dynamics of a non-mercury-based dental cement. This highlights the special place the methodology holds as a `soft-probe' to reveal the time-resolved energetics of condensed phased systems as they self-organise to adopt their low energy state.