Finite element analysis of the cyclic indentation of bilayer enamel

Yunfei Jia, Fu Zhen Xuan, Xiaoping Chen, Fuqian Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Tooth enamel is often subjected to repeated contact and often experiences contact deformation in daily life. The mechanical strength of the enamel determines the biofunctionality of the tooth. Considering the variation of the rod arrangement in outer and inner enamel, we approximate enamel as a bilayer structure and perform finite element analysis of the cyclic indentation of the bilayer structure, to mimic the repeated contact of enamel during mastication. The dynamic deformation behaviour of both the inner enamel and the bilayer enamel is examined. The material parameters of the inner and outer enamel used in the analysis are obtained by fitting the finite element results with the experimental nanoindentation results. The penetration depth per cycle at the quasi-steady state is used to describe the depth propagation speed, which exhibits a two-stage power-law dependence on the maximum indentation load and the amplitude of the cyclic load, respectively. The continuous penetration of the indenter reflects the propagation of the plastic zone during cyclic indentation, which is related to the energy dissipation. The outer enamel serves as a protective layer due to its great resistance to contact deformation in comparison to the inner enamel. The larger equivalent plastic strain and lower stresses in the inner enamel during cyclic indentation, as calculated from the finite element analysis, indicate better crack/fracture resistance of the inner enamel.

Original languageEnglish
Article number175401
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 30 2014


  • bilayer
  • cyclic indentation
  • enamel
  • penetration depth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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