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Trends Biomater. Artif. Organs, 25(2), 67-74 (2011) http://www.sbaoi.


A Comparative Study of Physical and Mechanical Properties of the

Different Grades of Australian Stainless Steel Wires
Singaraju Gowri Sankar*, Surendra Shetty V. 1, Diwakar Karanth H.S.2
Departmentof Orthodontics, Narayana Dental College, Nellore 517501, Andhra Pradesh
Departmentof Orthodontics, College of Dental Surgery, Mangalore, Karnataka
Departmentof Orthodontics, Maratha Mandal‘s Nathajirao G. Halgekar Institute of Dental Sciences & Research Centre,
Belgaum, Karnataka
*Corresponding author: Dr. Singaraju Gowri Sankar, e-mail: drgowrisankar@gmail.com

Received 31 July 2010; Accepted 3 August 2010; Available online 4 May 2011


Archwires are the components of an orthodontic fixed philosophies, has been included in the orthodontic
appliance through which forces are generated and armamentarium for quite some time, a review of the
consequently tooth movement is achieved. Austenitic published literature reveals a lack of information on
stainless steel with its greater strength, higher modulus fundamental physical and mechanical properties.
of elasticity, good resistance to corrosion and moderate Presently an orthodontist may select from all the available
cost was introduced as an orthodontic wire in 1929 and grades of Wilcock arch wires one that best meets the
shortly gained popularity (1). Recent developments in demands of a particular clinical situation and the efficiency
material science have lent themselves to improving the of the operator. The selection of appropriate grade of
properties of orthodontic stainless steel arch wire wire in turn would provide the benefit of optimum and
technology. The A.J.Wilcock arch wire also called as predictable treatment results. The clinician must therefore
the Australian arch wire is basically a high tensile be conversant with the difference in the mechanical
stainless steel wire that is heat treated to yield its familiar properties and clinical application of these various grades
and excellent clinical properties (2). The A.J. Wilcock of wires. A review of the literature revealed that most of
Scientific and Engineering Company, the manufacturers the literature has addressed the study of the mechanical
of the Australian wire, have been conducting Research and structural properties of traditional stainless steel
and Development studies to further improve the wire. orthodontic wires. Very few studies are available
Traditionally available grades (tempers) of wires are exclusively on Australian wires. None of the studies
Regular, Regular plus, Special, Special Plus and compared the properties of all the available grades of
Premium. Further two new grades of Australian wires A.J. Wilcock wire. Comprehensive Studies on the
have been introduced recently. They are Premium plus comparative properties of different grades of the
and Supreme which are two grades above that of Special Australian wire are also not available. There is also
plus. Australian wire is available in sizes ranging from scarcity of data regarding the properties of pulse
0.0123 to 0.0243 round wire .The Supreme grade is straightened and spinner straightened wires (5-14). The
available in the sizes of 0.008 to 0.011 inch wires. They purpose of the present study is to evaluate and compare
are used for aligning crowded teeth and used to form the mechanical structural properties of all grades of
mini-uprightning springs that produce very gentle forces 0.016’’ Wilcock Australian Stainless Steel round arch
(3). A technique of manufacture has been developed wires and to compare the properties of Spinner
called pulse straightening, which produces a far superior straightened and pulse straightened wires. The Wilcock
wire in terms of physical properties (4). Pulse straightened wires included in this study are Regular, Regular plus,
wires are available in Premium, Premium Plus and Special, Special plus, Premium, Premium Plus (Spinner
Supreme grades. They are supposed to have a smoother straightened), Premium plus (pulse straightened),
surface finish, and theoretically, therefore, less frictional Supreme (Spinner straightened) and Supreme (pulse
resistance. Mollenhaeur has stated that some of the straightened). The properties that are evaluated are:
physical properties of this wires may be increased by an Tensile properties, Maximum load via three point bending,
order of 300% (3). Although Australian wire, a distinctive Working range Kinetic friction, Stress relaxation,
type of steel used in various techniques and treatment
68 S.G. Sankar, V.S. Shetty, H.S.D. Karanth
Microhardness, Scanning Electron Microscopic (SEM),
Evaluation of surface topography and Elemental analysis.
Surface area
Materials and Methods




The objective of the study is to evaluate and compare the

structural and mechanical properties of all grades of
Australian and Wilcock Stainless round wires. All the
grades (tempers) of wires are 0.016" size except for the
620 ± 24
622 ± 32
634 ± 36
640 ± 28
648 ± 24
652 ± 28
684 ± 32
650 ± 28
678 ± 24
Supreme grade wire. The Wilcock wires included in this

study are 0.016’’ Regular, Regular plus, Special, Special

plus, Premium, Premium Plus (Spinner straightened),
Premium plus (pulse straightened), and 0.11’’ Supreme
(Spinner straightened) and Supreme (pulse straightened)
0.0371 ± 0.0020

0.0397 ± 0.0018

0.0417 ± 0.0021
0.0423 ± 0.0054

0.0324 ± 0.0045
0.0375 ± 0.0025

0.0406 ± 0.0016

0.0540 ± 0.0013

0.0410 ± 0.0015
At 50mg load

Since 0.016" inch size wires is not available in Supreme

Coefficient of


grade, 0.011" wire is taken for comparison. All the

samples were coded separately in order to avoid any
observer bias. Five wires of each sample were taken for
each experiment. Only one sampling of each wire was
done for elemental analysis. Long specimens were chosen
to minimize stress incorporation. These segments were
At 2mm deflection

1074.28 ± 42.98

1393.14 ± 25.24
1018.24 ± 37.24

1191.34 ± 41.94
1280.23 ± 35.23
822.33 ± 23.24

423.14 ± 15.93
908.63 ± 34.24

480.94 ± 26.38

carefully handled as they were uncoiled from the round

wound spools and were subjected to the following tests.

Tensile Test

A tensile test (15) was used to evaluate the tensile

properties of all the grades of wire. Five straight sections
of each wire grade were subjected to tensile loading on
42.04 ± 1.24
40.24 ± 2.48
40.14 ± 1.26
37.24 ± 1.44

35.98 ± 0.94
36.33 ± 1.54

33.24 ± 1.23
34.98 ± 1.28
33.14 ± 1.54

an Instron universal testing machine (Model 4204, Instron)


having a load cell capacity of 100 kg. A load range at 100

kg was used for this test. An inter cross-head distance of
50 mm was used and the speed at which the cross-head
Table 1: Measured properties of different grades of A.J. Wilcock stainless steel archwire

moved was 0.5 mm/minute. All tests are continued until

the failure due to fracture occurred. The force - elongation
data are replotted as stress- strain graphs. The ultimate
1870.24 ± 25.44
1940.35 ± 34.25
2324.14 ± 33.23
2480.29 ± 54.24
2496.31 ± 48.24
2602.23 ± 37.28
2998.94 ± 41.24
2968.35 ± 44.29
3291.28 ± 37.54

tensile strength (U.T.S.) is equated to the braking strength


of the wire. The yield strength was determined by offsetting


0.1 % deviation from the linearity. Strain percentage gives

the percentage elongation of the wire.

Three Point bend test

2221.33 ± 124.23

2633.84 ± 137.24

A three point bend test is done with a slight modification

2870.54 ± 34.27
2985.71 ± 87.24

3178.72 ± 24.98
2398.24 ± 25.38

2820.72 ± 28.23

3124.85 ± 35.24

3417.29 ± 85.98

as described by Miura et al (16). A two unit male-female



fixtures were designed to test the amount of force required

for a given deflection. The female part is attached to the
lower head of the Instron machine. It consists of two
vertical plates separated by a distance of 14 mm. The
male part is attached to the upper movable head and
consists of a single vertical plate. When upper head is

depressed fully, this vertical plate coincides with the centre




of the inter distance of the female vertical plates. The

female vertical plates have grooves in which the wire
specimen is placed. The upper head is depressed at a
Premium plus(S.S.)
Premium plus(P.S.)

rate of 0.5 mm/min and the force required to produce a

deflection of 2 mm is noted. Five specimens from each
Supreme (S.S.)
Supreme (P.S.)

grade of the wire are tested and the average force needed
Regular plus

Special plus

for a given deflection of 2 mm is calculated.



Working range

A five unit test jig was constructed for the purpose of this

study with slight modification proposed by wong et al 10.


The test jig represents a three bracket system with the

middle bracket simulating as a malaligned tooth in the
labiolingual direction (Fig 1). With this design no ligation
Physical and Mechanical Properties of Australian Stainless Steel Wires 69
Table 2: Measurement of working ranges of different grades of A.J. Wilcock stainless steel archwire
Sl. Diameter Percentage recovery for different amounts of deflection
No. (inches ) 1mm 2mm 3mm 4mm 5mm
1 Regular 0.016 87.6 92.75 82.50 66.12 63.70
2 Regular Plus 0.016 98.8 93.75 82.16 64.62 64.72
3 Special 0.016 96.5 94.60 81.5 61.37 65.30
4 Special Plus 0.016 99.7 95.10 84.66 60.80 69.94
5 Premium 0.016 99.5 90.25 81.16 58.61 69.88
6 Premium Plus (S.S) 0.016 97.6 94.50 81.83 61.37 66.10
7 Premium Plus (P.S) 0.016 96.6 93.75 78.16 55.60 56.50
8 Supreme (S.S) 0.011 100 98.35 91.16 73.95 79.68
9 Supreme (P.S) 0.011 99.9 97.30 88.50 71.00 73.48

Table 3: Elemental analysis of different grades of A.J. Wilcock stainless steel archwire

was needed to secure the wire in the slot. Hence it a 10 mm power arm from which weights could be hung to
eliminates the influence of ligation method on the represent the single equivalent force acting at the center
deformation of wire. Each test jig consists of 1) two fixed of resistance of the tooth root. All tests were conducted
side bars acting as supports 2) a movable middle bar also under dry conditions with an Instron universal testing
with slots to deflect the wires 3) a base to which these machine. The movable bracket was suspended from the
bars were fixed. The middle bar can deflect the wire to a load cell of the testing machine while the base plate was
maximum of 10 mm. Deflections for 1mm, 2mm, 3 mm, mounted on the cross-head below. The cross head,
4mm and 5mm were tested separately in each unit. connected with the suspended bracket moved upward at
Permanent deformation was measured with Travelling the speed of 2mm/minute. At the start of each test, a trial
microscopic (Olympus, DF plan IX, Model 52H 100, Stereo run was performed with no load on the power arm to check
Zoom Microscope). Fine ink marks were made on the wire that bracket was not binding on the arch wire. Weights of
precisely where it emerged from the slot. These marks 50 and 100 gms were suspended from the power arm
were used as reference points to measure the amount of and the load needed to move the bracket across the
deflection with an accuracy of 0.001mm. Wires were central span in the apparatus was recorded on chart paper.
unloaded after 1 hour .The amount of permanent Five representative readings were then taken with each
deformation was measured at the middle of the span after load with each grade of wire. The load cell readings
unloading the wires. The absolute magnitude and represented the clinical force of retraction that would be
percentage of creep deformation (Time dependent applied to the teeth, part of which would be lost in friction
deformation) were calculated for all wires for given whilst the remainder would be transmitted to the tooth
deflection. root and constitute the translational force. The difference
between the load cell readings and the load on the power
Creep deformation % = (creep deformation/deflection) x 100 arm represents frictional resistance.
The percentage recovery is calculated by using the formula The coefficient of friction between the two surfaces in
contact was calculated using the formula.
Percentage recovery = 100 - creep deformation percentage.
P = 2 Fhm / W OR m = P x W / 2Fh
Frictional resistance
m = Coefficient of friction ; P = Frictional resistance; W = Bracket
The measurement of friction was done for all the grades slot width ; F = Equivalent force acting at a distance: h = 10 mm
of the wire according to the experimental design proposed
by Tidy (17). The apparatus setup included non-torqued Stress relaxation
and non angulated edgewise brackets (Dentaurum,
Pfrozheim, Germany) having an 0.018"x0.025" slot, An experimental set up has been designed and
bonded on to a rigid persplex sheet at 8 mm intervals constructed as described by Hazel8 to measure the stress
with a space of 10mm at the centre for including a movable relaxation. The arch wire specimens are fabricated along
bracket. The wires were secured in place with 0.010" the following lines. For the purpose of the study an arch
elastomeric ligatures. The movable bracket was fitted with shape was determined from measurement of each of
70 S.G. Sankar, V.S. Shetty, H.S.D. Karanth
twenty randomly selected maxillary casts of ideal degree and 0.1 mm, respectively. Elemental analysis is
occlusion. The measurements made were inter canine done Neutron activation analysis (NAA) technique.
width, intermolar width and the anterior posterior distance
from the centre point of the arch to inter molar axis. The Surface topography
arch form and dimensions are presented in Figure 2. The The surface topography of the wire was evaluated with
apparatus consists of an acrylic plate form attached to a the aid of a Scanning Electron Microscope ( JSM -5410 LL,
specially constructed fixture attached to a lower head of Scanning Microscope, Jeol, Datum Ltd., Tokyo, Japan).
the instron machine (Fig 2). Two round molar tubes were The specimens, of about an inch long, were mounted on
fixed separated by a distance of 55mm. Begg bracket is specimen studs using silver paste which is an electrically
fixed to the anterior portion of the acrylic plate such that it conductive adhesive. The studs with the specimens were
lies in the centre of arch when the wires in depressed. A later placed inside the vacuum chamber of the S.E.M. An
tip back bend of 45° was used .The tip back bends accelerating voltage of 20 kv, a current of 3 amperes were
projected 2 mm mesial to the molar tube and the distal used. The surface was scanned and observed on the
ends of arch wire were cinched. The anterior vertical screen at 20x, 200x, 500x and 1000x magnifications.
depressant force required to straighten the wire is Photographs of the specimen were then taken at 500 X
measured by a special fixture attached to upper head of magnification. A square mm grid inbuilt into the
Instron machine. A load cell capacity of 100 kg with microscope was superimposed up on the
sensitivity of 0.001 kg is used. The initial load required to photomicrographs at 1000 X magnification. The surface
straighten the wire and the resultant strain is noted. The porosity was analyzed by the method described by De
load reading is arbitrarily taken when the arch wire first Hoff R.T (18). The horizontal lines of the grid were scanned
touches the acrylic plate. The anterior portion of the arch and the number of intersections made by the surface
wire is ligated in the bracket. The ligatures were relieved porosities and elevations were counted.
after one week. The final load required to straighten the
wire for the given strain is noted. From the difference
The total length of the lines scanned was estimated since
between the two readings stress relaxation is calculated.
the length of each line is known (100 mm x 10lines =
Microhardness 1000mm). The line intersect count (P L) was then obtained.
(PL denotes the number of intersections counted divided
Five wire specimens of each type were assessed for Micro by the length of test line samples). The surface area in
hardness. The Vickers hardness (HV) of wires was unit volume (S v) was then calculated by utilizing the
assessed by using a microhardness tester (DHV-3000; following relations:
Chroma Systems India) under a 500 g load and testing
PL = 1/2 Sv OR Sv = 2 PL
time of 15 seconds. The area of the sloping surface of the
indentation is calculated. The Vickers hardness (HV) is Results and Discussion
the quotient obtained by dividing the Kilogram Force load
by square mm of indentation. The readings and Values obtained from all tests with the
exception of Elemental analysis, surface topography, and
Structure and elemental analysis micro hardness were statistically analyzed. The ultimate
Tensile strength, yield strength and percentage elongation
The X-ray diffraction XRD studies were carried out using
are calculated from stress-strain graphs for all grades of
a Philips X’Pert Powder Diffractometer (PW 3040,
wires. All data are expressed as Mean ± SD. Analysis of
PANalytical, Almelo, the Netherlands) for structural
the difference between each corresponding grade of wire
analysis using CuKá radiation (40 kV, 50 mA), with the
programmable divergence slit and receiving slit kept at 1 is done by using the students‘t’ test of significance
between means at confidence interval of 95%. ANOVA
test was carried for the categorical data of working range.
A search of the orthodontic literature yielded very little
information has been presented on Australian orthodontic

Figure 1: A five unit test jig. Each unit has 1. A movable

middle bar with slot and 2. Fixed side bars with slots. The
middle bar moves to and fro simulating labiolingual displace-
ment of teeth. Deflections and elastic recovery are tested Figure 2: Figure showing the representative arch form and
for deflections of 1mm, 2mm,3mm, 4mm and 5mm measurement of stress relaxation
Physical and Mechanical Properties of Australian Stainless Steel Wires 71

wires. Only a few studies pertinent to the analysis of deformation during fabrication of the appliance. In the
surface characteristics, elemental composition, and present study Premium plus (P.S.) exhibited lowest
mechanical properties of the Australian stainless steel percentage elongation of 33.24% and highest values for
orthodontic wires were available. Meanwhile, the percentage elongation is displayed by Regular with value
introduction of different sizes and grades (tempers) makes of 42.04% in 0.016 size wires. Spinner straightened wires
application of the full range of these wires a highly possess greater percentage elongation than the
empirical task, with lack of justification of specific selection. corresponding diameters of pulse straightened wires. Thus
The present investigation relates to the extent of improvements in the properties of these wires is
differentiation of wire properties with regard to grade and accompanied by certain unavoidable drawbacks, one
process of manufacturing. among this is the increased brittleness due to less
percentage elongation and consequent occasional
A tensile test for determination of ultimate tensile strength, fracture of the wire during bending with orthodontic pliers.
yield strength and percentage elongation is conducted. However as Dr. Begg states: This is a small price to pay
(Table 1) The wires tested in this study exhibited a range for wires of such superior quality (4).
of values for the above three parameters. Ultimate tensile
strength is a material property and is expected to have The load deflection rate is an important determinant of
constant value which is independent of the dimension of the biologic response seen in tooth movement. There is
shape of the material. However, in the present study an increasing realisation that light continuous forces are
different values are obtained for UTS ranging from the preferable in tooth movements. A three point bend test is
lowest value of 2221.33 MPA for Regular to the highest used to measure the load deflection rate of wires when
value of 3417.29 MPA for Supreme (P.S.) 0.11" wires. subjected to 2 mm deflection. This indirectly indicates the
Comparing the wires of same dimensions, Regular 0.016 stiffness of wire and its resistance to permanent
showed least tensile strength of 2221.33 MPA followed deformation. It is also an indication amount of forces
by Regular plus, Special, Special plus, Premium, Premium exerted by an archwire for a given deflection. A
plus (S.S) and Premium plus (P. S) in increasing order comparison of the load values at 2 mm deflection revealed
with Premium plus (P.S.) showing an ultimate tensile the force values being increased from Regular to Premium
strength of 3124.85 MPA. The difference in the values is plus pulse straightened wires in 0.016" dimensions. The
found to be statistically significant. The pulse straightened lowest value noted for Regular grade is 822.24 grams
wires of 0.016 Premium plus (P.S.) and 0.011" Supreme where as higher values of 1393.14 grams are being
showed correspondingly higher values than their spinner observed for Premium plus pulse straightened wires.
straightened (S.S.) counterparts. The difference between Pulse straightened wires displayed a greater force
means is very highly significant (t=3.30 for 0.016’’ and requirement than their corresponding spinner straightened
t=5.96 for 0.011’’ wires). It is also noted that with the wires. The Premium plus 0.016" wires produced higher
Yield strength and Ultimate Tensile Strength of the 0.011" force levels of an average 8.8% than spinners straightened
diameter wires are higher than that of 0.016" counterparts. wire of same grade. Comparison of Supreme 0.011" pulse
The present values obtained for different grades of wire straightened wire revealed a 13% increase in the force
are consistent with the earlier findings (7-9,13) while the values delivered than their corresponding counter parts
values obtained in the present study are slightly less than of spinner straightened wires. The findings in the study
that of another study(14). indicate that the newer pulse straightened wire would have
greater resistance to deformation and stiffest of all grades
Yield strength (Table 1) of a material represents the stress of wires. But equally important is the greater amount of
below which deformation is entirely elastic. It indicates force it would exert while aligning displaced teeth. Whether
the amount of energy stored in an orthodontic wire before these forces are beneficial or harmful for tooth movement
it is plastically deformed. The same trend in the values is yet to be tested.
observed for ultimate tensile strength are also noticed in
the determination of yield strength .Regular 0.016" wire Working range is a measure of how far a wire can be
with 1870.24 MPA has lowest value with the highest value deformed without exceeding the limits of the material. It
being that of Premium plus (P.S.) with a yield strength of is a measure of distance without regard to the force that
2998.94 MPA. The spinner straightened Supreme 0.011" is required to accomplish the deflection. Clinically, it
and 0.016" wires have lower values compared to their indicates how far tooth will be moved in a single activation.
pulse straightened counterparts. Premium plus pulse The greater the working range, the lesser the appliance
straightened wire seems to have increased value of yield activations required and at low force levels this
strength by an average of 15% than their corresponding approaches the concept of optimal tooth movement. The
spinner straightened wires. test jig is used in the study to measure the increase in
permanent deformation. The amount of permanent
The percentage elongation (Table 1) is an indication of deformation experienced by the wire gives an indication
the ductility of the material. It refers to the capacity of a of its working range. The larger the permanent deformation
material to undergo deformation under tension without the smaller the working range. With this design no ligation
rupture. It is a measure of the degree of plastic deformation was needed to secure the wire in the slot. Hence it
that has been sustained fracture. Lower values of eliminated the influence of ligation method on the
percentage elongation indicate the brittleness of the deformation of wire. In the present study it is observed
material. Knowledge of the ductility of material is important that there is no consistent pattern of working range from
for at least two reasons. First, it indicates to a designer Regular to Premium plus pulse straightened wire in the
the degree to which the wire will deform plastically before 0.016 dimensions (Table 2). Of all the wire specimens
the fracture. Secondly it specifies the degree of allowable tested the Special plus displayed superior quality of elastic
72 S.G. Sankar, V.S. Shetty, H.S.D. Karanth
recovery for a given deflection. It is also seen that spinner intrusion it is necessary that the orthodontic wire to exert
straightened wires have superior working range compared consistent force over a period of time. However in the
to pulse straightened wires of 0.016" wire dimension. The clinical situation, forces exerted by the wire may vary with
percentage recovery of Premium plus spinner straightened time because of tooth movement and stress relaxation.
showed an average superior recovery rate from 97.6% to Stress relaxation occurs when stress decreases over time
66.10% depending upon the amount of deflection where at a constant amount of strain. This results in increase in
as pulse straightened wire exhibited a working range from permanent deformation and a decrease in stored energy
96.6% to 55.6%. However the difference is not statistically in the wire. Clinically a decrease in force and stored energy
significant. It is also noticed that as the deflection may lead to a decrease in the amount of tooth movement.
increased from 1mm to 5 mm, larger diametre (0.016") In the present study a predetermined arch form with 45°
wires displayed a poorer working range which is as low anchor bends is used to determine the amount of initial
as 55%. But in the smaller diametre (0.011") Supreme intrusive forces generated by the wire and the stress
grade wire, elastic recovery was excellent and minimum relaxation in the wire after one week. Initial forces
working range it exhibited at 5 mm deflection is not even developed by Premium plus pulse straightening 0.016"
less than 70%. Considering that the larger diametre wires wire is greater than other grade of same dimensions. The
are bound to exert greater forces on the teeth, it may be Regular grade marked a low force values of 82.23gms
more efficacious if the Supreme grade of wires are utilised compared to Premium plus (P.S.) with highest value of
to effect tooth alignment particularly so when tooth 100.24 gm. (Table 1) The forces generated by pulse
displacements are larger. These wires can be used piggy straightened wires seems to be higher than spinner
back in initial aligning phase along with larger diameter straightened wire by 1.9%. The stress relaxation noted
arch wires. The gentler forces developed by these auxiliary after 1 week is lowest for Premium plus pulse straightened
wires may facilitate alignment of teeth rapidly without with 0.49% where as highest force degradation occurred
unduly taxing the anchorage. in Regular plus wires with a stress relaxation of 1.82%.
These findings indicate that while correction of deep bite
Frictional resistance is an important consideration in by newer pulse straightened wires may create greater
orthodontic mechanotherapy because forces needed to intrusive loads on anterior teeth and extrusive loads on
retract teeth necessarily has to overcome the frictional posterior molars. This may affect anchorage requirements.
force. The greater the frictional resistance, greater is the The higher forces developed by Premium plus pulse
force needed for tooth movement. This implies that straightened wire can effectively over come the extrusive
anchorage requirements will be proportionately higher. component of inter maxillary elastics. However whether
Reduction of frictional resistance is one of the objectives tooth movement is facilitated or retarded by the higher
of contemporary orthodontic mechanotherapy. In the forces is to be further evaluated by clinical studies. Earlier
present study the results obtained are quite contrary to studies of Twelftree 7 and Hazel et al ( 8) evaluated certain
the expectations. According to manufacturing process grades of Wilcock wire and reported that negligible stress
pulse straightened wires have smooth finish. But in present relaxation occurs even when assessed over a period of
study Premium plus pulse straightened 0.016" wire 28 days. They found that the Wilcock wires are superior
showed the highest frictional resistance. In 0.011" to other stainless steel wires. Thus in spite of different
dimension also pulse straightened wires showed greater forms of specimen used and the methods of testing there
frictional resistance (Table 1). The mean coefficient of is general agreement with regard to the relaxation of these
friction for pulse straightened wires in 0.016" dimension wires. The advantage of present study is the form of
seems to be 1.7 times greater than the corresponding sample which is much close to that used in clinical practise
spinner straightened wire. The Supreme pulse and the value of the forces and the rates of relaxation can
straightened 0.011" wire exhibited frictional resistance be applied more directly.
which is 1.2 times greater than spinner straightened wire.
Among the 0.016" Spinner straightened wires, Premium
plus exhibited greater frictional resistance while the This increased hardness may lead to fracture during
Regular exhibited lowest frictional resistance. On the basis clinical bending and possibly to adverse affects during
of this study it can be inferred that situations which require orthodontic mechanotherapy The Vickers hardness test
translatory tooth movement may tax anchorage more in is used to measure the hardness of these wires. The
the event of using pulse straightened wires. In the light of hardness value of the wires is found in between 620 to
the surface topography analysis which revealed a better 684 for 0.016’’ wires. (Table 1) The Premium plus wires
smoothness for pulse straightened wires, further studies has maximum hardness value of 684 and minimum is
are warranted to determine whether straightening and heat found for Regular grade wires. The Pulse straightened
treatment procedures in the pulse straightened wires wires are comparatively harder than spinner straightened
produce some surface product which may be responsible wires. No significant difference in hardness is found in
for nearly the double coefficient of friction values obtained different sizes of same grade (Table 1). The Vickers
in this study. hardness of Australian wire obtained in this study are
higher compared to the traditional stainless steel alloys
Stress relaxation but of the same range to that of obtained by Brian M.
Pelsue (14)
Force for intrusion is achieved in the arch form by including
the anchor bends or reverse curve of spee which become Surface hardness is influenced by the hardness of a
activated when the arch wire is pinned to the teeth i.e. material are its strength, proportional limit, ductility,
stress are produced in the wire and these generate forces malleability and resistance to abrasion and cutting. The
which are transmitted to the teeth. In order to achieve higher hardness values could be attributed to increased
Physical and Mechanical Properties of Australian Stainless Steel Wires 73

Figure 3: The SEM pictures (500 x) of different grades of wire. All the wires irrespective of their grades and manufactur-
ing process exhibited surface roughness

carbon content in the Australian wire, along with the of high carbon stainless steel alloys is associated with
manufacturing process. The high range of hardness precipitation of carbides on surface and formation of rough,
values of this wires make them incompatible with brackets irregular, and excessively porous surfaces noted in SEM
that have less hardness brackets. This will have more images ( Fig 3). It is noticed that among 0.016" dimension
effect on retraction mechanics specifically that use sliding wires, Premium plus pulse straightened has smoothest
techniques. The large difference in hardness between finish with PL count of 0.176 and the roughest surface
Australian wire and less harder brackets may cause the texture is exhibited by Regular wire with a P L count of
wire to bind and may result in loss of anchorage. 0.202. (Table 1) The pulse straightened wires exhibited
less surface irregularities when compared to spinner
Elemental analysis straightened wires. The surface area of irregularities is
also greater in spinner straightened wires compared to
Powdered x-ray diffraction analysis showed that this wire the pulse straightened wires. It is worth while to investigate
is mainly austenitic phase and contains other phases. whether this surface texture alters the chances of
Elemental analysis show that the carbon content of the corrosion and tarnish as there is no data available on it.
steels is around 0.1% in higher grades of wire. (Table 3) The surface topography obtained in present study is in
The chromium content is found to be around 17-18 % contradiction with those obtained by Brian M. Pelsue etal
and nickel around 12%. Australian wires reported in the (14).
present study indicates that the carbon content is well
above the values reported for typical 18/8 stainless steel Conclusion
wire which is around 0.02%. The increased carbon content
may contribute to the increased hardness of higher grades
The present investigation supports that the temper, size
of wire. This increased hardness may cause Australian
and manufacturing process effects the physical and
wire to be more brittle than traditional stainless steel wire
mechanical properties of Australian wires. Australian
and consequently may adversely affect the ability of the
Wilcock newer pulse straightened wire possesses superior
wire to withstand bending.
strength and stiffness compared to older grades of 0.016"
Surface Topography wires. It can be assumed that the same tendency of
proportion can be observed in other range of sizes for
An evaluation of surface topography is important because these grades of wires until proven otherwise. Thus this
an irregular surface is associated with greater friction and pulse straightened Premium plus wires can effectively
a rough surface may be more susceptible to corrosion. overcome the deflective forces from mastication and can
All the wires irrespective of their grades, size and method resist deformation in the oral cavity. Despite the superior
of manufacture exhibited surface irregularities. Tempering surface topography exhibited by this wires it is found that
74 S.G. Sankar, V.S. Shetty, H.S.D. Karanth
they show a Kinetic friction of 1.5 times greater than after 1 1/2 months. This shortens the treatment time and
spinner straightened wires. This need to be evaluated number of appointments.
critically by further studies. The smaller size supreme
grade wires can be effectively used in initial aligning However, the experimental set ups used in the present
phase. The Supreme material will remind the clinician of study does not simulate the force delivery system in the
nickel titanium wires, with the added advantage of clinical situation. Further more the wires are tested in a
formability and significant reduction in cost. Its size allows controlled environment devoid of saliva and mechanical
it to be placed in the same slot with basal arch wires insults. Therefore, the possible effects of corrosion,
without having to use specially designed deep slotted mastication and oral hygiene measures were avoided. The
brackets. The force relaxation of this wires seems to be wires require to be evaluated in invivo clinical conditions
negligible. This is a favourable situation because the or experimental models simulating oral environment.
orthodontic wire should apply the intrusive forces even

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