Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Manufacturing Systems Engineering (MSMSE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Manufacturing Systems Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Julius M. Schoop


Yttria-stabilized tetragonal zirconia polycrystal (Y-TZP) has gained popularity as the choice of material for dental prosthetics. Ivoclar Vivadent’s IPS e.max ZirCAD Prime dental ceramic incorporates a unique gradient technology that varies the yttria content over the thickness of the material. The top layer is composed of 5Y-TZP which is desired for its optical properties while the bottom layer is composed of a much stronger 3Y-TZP. In between the two layers, 5Y-TZP and 3Y-TZP are mixed to form a transition layer. Varying the amount of yttria allows for more esthetically pleasing translucency in the visible areas of the restoration without compromising mechanical strength in the body. This study aims to address the gap between microstructural characterization of this dental ceramic and machining parameters that are relevant to the dental professionals performing surface finishing.

The material was examined, before and after sintering, via scanning electron microscopy (SEM), electron backscatter diffraction (EBSD), and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS), from which average grain size, crystallographic orientation, and elemental composition were analyzed. Critical linear feed rates were derived from these measured parameters. The recommendation of using high cutting speeds addresses the variability in linear feed rate of handheld finishing tools as well as the ductile-to-brittle transition of IPS e.max ZirCAD Prime.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This project was supported by grant P20GM103436 (KY INBRE) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institutes of Health from 2021-2023.