The two sides of the C-factor

Alex S.L. Fok, Wondwosen A. Aregawi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objective: The aim of this paper is to investigate the effects on shrinkage strain/stress development of the lateral constraints at the bonded surfaces of resin composite specimens used in laboratory measurement. Methods: Using three-dimensional (3D) Hooke's law, a recently developed shrinkage stress theory is extended to 3D to include the additional out-of-plane strain/stress induced by the lateral constraints at the bonded surfaces through the Poisson's ratio effect. The model contains a parameter that defines the relative thickness of the boundary layers, adjacent to the bonded surfaces, that are under such multiaxial stresses. The resulting differential equation is solved for the shrinkage stress under different boundary conditions. The accuracy of the model is assessed by comparing the numerical solutions with a wide range of experimental data, which include those from both shrinkage strain and shrinkage stress measurements. Results: There is good agreement between theory and experiments. The model correctly predicts the different instrument-dependent effects that a specimen's configuration factor (C-factor) has on shrinkage stress. That is, for noncompliant stress-measuring instruments, shrinkage stress increases with the C-factor of the cylindrical specimen; while the opposite is true for compliant instruments. The model also provides a correction factor, which is a function of the C-factor, Poisson's ratio and boundary layer thickness of the specimen, for shrinkage strain measured using the bonded-disc method. For the resin composite examined, the boundary layers have a combined thickness that is ∼11.5% of the specimen's diameter. Significance: The theory provides a physical and mechanical basis for the C-factor using principles of engineering mechanics. The correction factor it provides allows the linear shrinkage strain of a resin composite to be obtained more accurately from the bonded-disc method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-656
Number of pages8
JournalDental Materials
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China through Grant No. 81628005.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018

Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • C-factor
  • Compliance
  • Dental composites
  • Poisson's ratio
  • Shrinkage stress


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