Polymer-based composites are widely used in restorative dentistry as alternatives to metals and ceramics to fill cavities in teeth. They adhere to the walls of the cavity in the tooth, thus forming a composite body consisting of dentine, enamel, and composite resin. Geometric discontinuities along the interfaces between these materials can induce singularities in the stress field, which in turn lead to premature failure of the restoration. In the present investigation, a complex stress function technique is employed to derive the order of the stress singularity. It is shown that the order of the singularity depends on both the material properties of the restorative material and the local geometry of the cavity. It is also shown that the singularity in the stress field can be avoided through careful design of the cavity shape. The results presented correlate well with experimental results reported in the literature. [S0148-0731(00)01504-1]

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