Prasad et al. (1988) have shown that slow cooling of dental porcelain produces increases in thermal expansion sufficient to make a compatible metal-porcelain system incompatible. The present study was undertaken to determine whether the increase in porcelain thermal expansion might be attributable to crystallization of additional leucite during slow cooling of the porcelain. Eight x-ray diffraction specimens for each of six commercial dental porcelains and for the Component No. 1 frit of the Weinstein and Weinstein (1962) and Weinstein et al. (1962) patents were fabricated and divided into two groups. Specimens in the first group (termed fast-cooled) were cooled in the conventional manner by removing them from the furnace at the maximum firing temperature immediately into room air. Specimens in the second group (termed slow-cooled) were cooled slowly by interrupting power to the furnace muffle and allowing them to cool inside the closed furnace. Quantitative x-ray diffraction was performed on the fast- and slow-cooled porcelain specimens with standards containing leucite volume fractions of 0.111, 0.223, 0.334, and 0.445. Unpaired, one-tailed t tests were performed on the fast- and slow-cool data, and a significant increase (p<0.05) in the amount of leucite (as a function of the slow cooling) was found for each of the porcelains. The increases in the leucite volume fractions resulting from the slow cooling ranged from a low of 8.5% to a high of 55.8%, with an average increase of 26.9%. Because of the strong dependence of the coefficient of thermal expansion of dental porcelain on its leucite content, slow cooling of porcelain-metal dental restorations would be capable of producing severe porcelain-metal thermal incompatibilities.
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