A study in radiopaque polymeric materials

  • Garnett C. Simmons

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The problems associated with x-ray-transparent denture base are defined and conventional approaches to their solution are assessed.
Consideration of elemental absorption parameters leads to the postulation that atoms such as zinc, and bromine, may be effective radiopacifiers over at least part of the clinical x-ray spectrum. These elements had hitherto been considered too light to be effective.
Investigation of copolymers of methylmethacrylate and p-bromostyrene
revealed no deleterious effects arising from the aromatically brominated monomer (aliphatic bromination caused UV destabilisation). For effective x-ray absorption a higher level of bromination would be necessary, but the expense of suitable compounds made further study unjustifiable.
Incorporation of zinc atoms into the polymer was accomplished by copolymerisation of zinc acrylate with methylmethacrylate in solution. At high zinc levels this produced a powder copolymer convenient for addition to dental polymers in the dough moulding process. The resulting mouldings showed increasing brittleness at high loadings of copolymer. Fracture was shown to be through the powder particles rather than around them, indicating the source of
weakness to be in the internal structure of the copolymer.
The copolymer was expected to be cross-linked through divalent zinc ions and its insolubility and infusibility supported this. Cleavage of the ionic cross links with formic acid produced a zinc-free linear copolymer of high molecular weight.
Addition of low concentrations of acrylic acid to the dough moulding monomer appeared to 'labilise' the cross links producing a more homogeneous moulding with adequate wet strength.
Toxicologically the zinc-containing materials are satisfactory and though zinc is extracted at a measurable rate in an aqueous system, this is very small and should be acceptable over the life of a denture.
In other respects the composite is quite satisfactory and though a marketable product is not claimed the system is considered worthy of further study.
Date of AwardApr 1975
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorBrian Tighe (Supervisor)


  • radiopaque polymeric materials

Cite this