ADM guidance—Ceramics: guidance to the use of fractography in failure analysis of brittle materials

Susanne S. Scherrer*, Ulrich Lohbauer, Alvaro Della Bona, Alessandro Vichi, Michael J. Tholey, J. Robert Kelly, Richard van Noort, Paulo Francisco Cesar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To provide background information and guidance as to how to use fractography accurately, a powerful tool for failure analysis of dental ceramic structures. 

Methods: An extended palette of qualitative and quantitative fractography is provided, both for in vivo and in vitro fracture surface analyses. As visual support, this guidance document will provide micrographs of typical critical ceramic processing flaws, differentiating between pre- versus post sintering cracks, grinding damage related failures and occlusal contact wear origins and of failures due to surface degradation. 

Results: The documentation emphasizes good labeling of crack features, precise indication of the direction of crack propagation (dcp), identification of the fracture origin, the use of fractographic photomontage of critical flaws or flaw labeling on strength data graphics. A compilation of recommendations for specific applications of fractography in Dentistry is also provided. 

Significance: This guidance document will contribute to a more accurate use of fractography and help researchers to better identify, describe and understand the causes of failure, for both clinical and laboratory-scale situations. If adequately performed at a large scale, fractography will assist in optimizing the methods of processing and designing of restorative materials and components. Clinical failures may be better understood and consequently reduced by sending out the correct message regarding the fracture origin in clinical trials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)599-620
Number of pages22
JournalDental Materials
Issue number6
Early online date8 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • ceramic
  • failure
  • fatigue
  • fractography
  • fracture
  • interface
  • strength
  • toughness
  • wear
  • zirconia


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