High resolution ultrastructure imaging of fractures in human dental tissues

Tan Sui, Siqi Ying, Gabriel Landini, Alexander M. Korsunsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human dental hard tissues are dentine, cementum, and enamel. These are hydrated mineralised composite tissues with a hierarchical structure and versatile thermo-mechanical properties. The hierarchical structure of dentine and enamel was imaged by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) of samples prepared by focused ion beam (FIB) milling. High resolution TEM was carried out in the vicinity of a crack tip in dentine. An intricate “random weave” pattern of hydroxyapatile crystallites was observed and this provided a possible explanation for toughening of the mineralized dentine tissue at the nano-scale. The results reported here provide the basis for improved understanding of the relationship between the multi-scale nature and the mechanical properties of hierarchically structured biomaterials, and will also be useful for the development of better prosthetic and dental restorative materials.
Original languageEnglish
Article number041007
JournalTheoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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