Background: The aim of this study was to investigate the corrosive behaviour of stainless steel archwires in a more clinically relevant way by bending and exposing to various pH.
Methods: One hundred and twenty pieces of rectangular stainless steel wires (0.43 x 0.64 mm) were randomly assigned into four groups. In each group, there were 15 pieces of bent wires and 15 straight ones. Prior to measurements of the wires, as individual experimental groups (group 1, 2, and 3), the wires were exposed to artificial saliva for 4 weeks at pH 5.6, 6.6, and 7.6, respectively. A control group of wires (group 4) remained in air for the same period of time before sent for measurements. Surface roughness (Ra-value) was measured by a profilometer. Young's modulus and maximum force were determined by a four-point flexural test apparatus. Scanning electron microscopy was used to observe the surface morphology of straight wire. Differences between groups were examined using a two-way analysis of variance (ANOVA).
Results: Mean surface roughness values, flexural Young's moduli, and maximum force values of bent wires are significantly different from those of the straight wires, which was the main effect of wire bending, ignoring the influence of pH. A significant effect was found between Ra-values regarding the main effect of pH, ignoring the influence of shape. There was a significant interaction effect of bending and pH on flexural Young's moduli of stainless steel archwires, while pH did not show much impact on the maximum force values of those stainless steel wires. Bigger surface irregularities were seen on SEM images of straight wires immersed in artificial saliva at pH 5.6 compared to artificial saliva at other pH values. Surface depth (Rz) was more sensitive than Ra in revealing surface roughness, both measured from 3D reconstructed SEM images. Ra showed a comparable result of surface roughness to Ra-value measured by the profilometer.
Conclusions: Bending has a significant influence on surface roughness and mechanical properties of rectangular SS archwires. pH plays a synergistic effect on the change of mechanical properties of stainless steel (SS) wires along with wire bending.