This study investigated polymerization kinetics, linear shrinkage, and shrinkage stress development for six contemporary composite materials of different viscosities cured using radiant exitances of 1100-2850 mW/cm2. Real-time measurements of degree of conversion, linear shrinkage, and shrinkage stress were performed over 5 min using Fourier-transform infrared spectrometry, a custom-made linometer, and a custom-made stress analyzer, respectively. For most tested variables, the factor "material" had a higher effect size than the factor "curing protocol". Maximum polymerization rate and maximum shrinkage stress rate were the most affected by changes in curing conditions. In contrast, no significant effects of curing conditions were identified within each material for shrinkage stress values measured at the end of the 5 min observation period. Linear shrinkage and shrinkage stress values measured after 5 min were closely correlated (R = 0.905-0.982). The analysis of polymerization kinetics suggested that the two composites specifically designed for rapid light-curing responded to higher radiant exitances differently than other composites. Polymerization kinetics and shrinkage stress behavior of contemporary restorative composite materials of different viscosities were overall more affected by material type than differences in curing conditions. Subtle differences in polymerization kinetics behavior shown by the two composites specifically designed for rapid high-intensity light-curing did not translate into significant differences in the development of polymerization shrinkage stress.
Keywords: bulk-fill composites; light-curing; rapid light-curing; resin composites.