Accuracy of Kubelka–Munk reflectance theory for dental resin composite material



The objective of this study is to determine the effect of interfacial reflection correction (IRC) on the accuracy of this reflectance model for contemporary dental resin composite materials.


Visible reflectance spectra were obtained for varying thicknesses (∼0.3–1.2 mm) of five shades of each of two brands (Herculite Ultra and Kalore) of dental resin composite materials on black, gray and white backings. For each shade and brand, K–M theory was fit (SAS non-linear fit) for each of three IRC methods: (1) no IRC (No), (2) an IRC method which uses a theoretical value of the internal reflection for translucent materials (Tr), and (3) an IRC method which uses a derived value of the internal reflection for opaque materials (Op). The errors were subjected to repeated measures analysis of variance and Bonferroni corrections were applied to selected pairwise comparisons.


The Op method had a statistically lower error than the No method at wavelengths from 460 to 560 nm, and the Tr method had this lower error at wavelengths from 440 to 780 nm.


Corrected K–M reflectance theory may be used to accurately quantify the optical K–M absorption and scattering coefficients for contemporary dental resin composite materials, and this theory may be used to calculate accurately the reflectance spectrum for a clinically relevant thickness value and for a backing that is low, mid-range or high in lightness. Both color and translucency information of resin composite materials may be accurately predicted using corrected Kubelka–Munk reflectance model.


Optical properties have been calculated through reflectance measurements based on the Kubelka–Munk reflectance theory as applied to human enamel and dentin , maxillofacial material porcelain as well as direct restorative material . Although the study of direct restorative material used only luminous reflectance which is the CIE tristimulus value Y , and Davis et al. determined reflectance using three CIE tristimulus values ( X , Y , and Z ), most articles describe reflectance on a spectral basis, which then allows for conversion to CIE color parameters for any illuminant and observer.

The Kubelka–Munk (K–M) collection of theories, originally derived by Kubelka and Munk in 1931 and simplified by Kubelka in 1948 , model reflectance of a translucent layer with and without a backing and model transmittance through such a layer. K–M reflectance theory for layers on a backing is a mathematical model describing the reflectance resulting from two-flux radiation transfer in a homogenous and uniform medium on an opaque backing. Differential equations that led to the theory considered i and j as two light vectors traveling on opposite directions, where K and S are absorption and scattering coefficients of the translucent material respectively. An elementary layer of thickness dx is used to describe the changes in light fluxes in both directions. The decreases of the flux in the downward direction due to absorption and scattering of the downward flux are Ki dx and Si dx , respectively, and the increase in the flux in the downward direction due to scattering from the upward flux is Sj dx . Similarly, the decreases of the flux in the upward direction due to absorption and scattering of the upward flux are Kj dx and Sj dx , respectively, and the increase in flux in the downward direction due to scattering from the downward flux is Si dx . Therefore, the differential equations for the downward ( i ) and upward ( j ) fluxes are :

<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-1-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='−di=−(S+K)idx+Sjdx’>di=(S+K)idx+Sjdx−di=−(S+K)idx+Sjdx
− d i = − ( S + K ) i d x + S j d x
<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-2-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='dj=−(S+K)jdx+Sidx’>dj=(S+K)jdx+Sidxdj=−(S+K)jdx+Sidx
d j = − ( S + K ) j d x + S i d x

The solution of Eqs. (1) and (2) is based on certain assumptions : (1) the material is of a constant finite thickness, (2) illumination is diffuse and homogenous, (3) optical effects at its edges may be neglected, (4) pigment particles are uniformly distributed within the layer and are smaller than the elementary thickness, and (5) no reflection occurs at the surface of the translucent material. The solution resulted in the reflectance R of the translucent material of thickness ( X ) with scattering ( S ) and absorption ( K ) coefficients and in optical contact against a background with reflectance R g . The simplified reflectance equation is:

<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-3-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='R=1−Rg[a−bcoth(bSX)]a−Rg+bcoth(bSX)’>R=1Rg[abcoth(bSX)]aRg+bcoth(bSX)R=1−Rg[a−bcoth(bSX)]a−Rg+bcoth(bSX)
R = 1 − R g [ a − b coth ( b S X ) ] a − R g + b coth ( b S X )

where <SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-4-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='a=(S+K)/K’>a=(S+K)/Ka=(S+K)/K
a = ( S + K ) / K
, <SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-5-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='b=a2−1′>b=a21b=a2−1
b = a 2 − 1
, S and K are the scattering and absorption coefficients respectively, X is the thickness of the translucent material, R g is the reflectance of the backing, and coth denotes the hyperbolic cotangent function, where coth( bSX ) is <SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-6-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='coth(bSX)=(e(bSX)+e−(bSX))/(e(bSX)−e−(bSX))’>coth(bSX)=(e(bSX)+e(bSX))/(e(bSX)e(bSX))coth(bSX)=(e(bSX)+e−(bSX))/(e(bSX)−e−(bSX))
coth ( b S X ) = ( e ( b S X ) + e − ( b S X ) ) / ( e ( b S X ) − e − ( b S X ) )
. If the material is infinitely thick, the K–M reflectance equation simplifies to <SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-7-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='R∞=a−b’>R=abR∞=a−b
R ∞ = a − b

However, Eq. (3) does not take into account interfacial reflections that occur at refractive index changes as light passes from one medium to another. Frensel’s law describes light behavior as it travels between two media having different refractive indices . Interfacial reflections occur externally as the incident light passes from air to the material and also internally as the light leaves the material into air. Saunderson showed that the reflectance <SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-8-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='R′’>RR′
R ′
of material, which would be observed if reflections did occur at the front surface, is given by Eq. (4) :

<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-9-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='R′=k1+(1−k1)(1−k2)R1−k2R’>R=k1+(1k1)(1k2)R1k2RR′=k1+(1−k1)(1−k2)R1−k2R
R ′ = k 1 + ( 1 − k 1 ) ( 1 − k 2 ) R 1 − k 2 R

where k 1 is the fraction of incident light externally specularly reflected upon entering the material, k 2 is the fraction of light internally diffusely reflected upon leaving the material at the front surface and R is the reflectance of the material if no interfacial reflection occurs at the front surface, what Saunderson called the internal reflectance. This correction must also be considered in determining the effective reflectance of any backing on the translucent layer and the substantial differences in these corrections for air and for a liquid matched in refractive index between the layer and the backing were shown for a dental modifier porcelain .

Duntley proposed that the correction when only half of the specular light is collected in the measurement to be:

<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-10-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='R′=k12+(1−k1)(1−k2)R1−k2R’>R=k12+(1k1)(1k2)R1k2RR′=k12+(1−k1)(1−k2)R1−k2R
R ′ = k 1 2 + ( 1 − k 1 ) ( 1 − k 2 ) R 1 − k 2 R

However, no specular reflection is included in measurements with the 45° illumination and 0° observation geometry used for reflectance measurements in this study as shown in Fig. 1 . Therefore, this correction formula becomes (per Hu et al. ):

<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-11-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='R′=(1−k1)(1−k2)R1−k2R’>R=(1k1)(1k2)R1k2RR′=(1−k1)(1−k2)R1−k2R
R ′ = ( 1 − k 1 ) ( 1 − k 2 ) R 1 − k 2 R

Fig. 1
The optical arrangement the fiber optic light cable (F) transferring the illumination from a xenon arc lamp to a white reflectance standard (W) during calibration of the non-contact measuring system. The reflected light from the standard is then measured by the spectroradiometer (S).

For nonpolarized light k 1 is a function of the incident angle about which color scientists seem to have no debate and is expressed as :

<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-12-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='k1=k||+k⊥2′>k1=k||+k2k1=k||+k⊥2
k 1 = k | | + k ⊥ 2

where <SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-13-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='k||=[(cosi−(n2/n1)2−sin2i)/(cosi+(n2/n1)2−sin2i)]2′>k||=[(cosi(n2/n1)2sin2i)/(cosi+(n2/n1)2sin2i)]2k||=[(cosi−(n2/n1)2−sin2i)/(cosi+(n2/n1)2−sin2i)]2
k | | = [ ( cos i − ( n 2 / n 1 ) 2 − sin 2 i ) / ( cos i + ( n 2 / n 1 ) 2 − sin 2 i ) ] 2
and <SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-14-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='k⊥=[((n2/n1)2cosi−(n2/n1)2−sin2i)/((n2/n1)2cosi+(n2/n1)2−sin2i)]2′>k=[((n2/n1)2cosi(n2/n1)2sin2i)/((n2/n1)2cosi+(n2/n1)2sin2i)]2k⊥=[((n2/n1)2cosi−(n2/n1)2−sin2i)/((n2/n1)2cosi+(n2/n1)2−sin2i)]2
k ⊥ = [ ( ( n 2 / n 1 ) 2 cos i − ( n 2 / n 1 ) 2 − sin 2 i ) / ( ( n 2 / n 1 ) 2 cos i + ( n 2 / n 1 ) 2 − sin 2 i ) ] 2
. Here n 2 is the index of refraction of the optically denser medium, and n 1 is that of the less dense medium. For air n 1 is about 1.0003 and for dental composite resin n 2 is ∼1.5. Since n 1 is nearly 1 so n = n 2 / n 1 n 2 . The internal reflection coefficient k 2 as theorized by Richmond for a translucent material with an index of refraction n in a vacuum is given by:

<SPAN role=presentation tabIndex=0 id=MathJax-Element-15-Frame class=MathJax style="POSITION: relative" data-mathml='k2=1−(1−kw)n2′>k2=1(1kw)n2k2=1−(1−kw)n2
k 2 = 1 − ( 1 − k w ) n 2
Only gold members can continue reading. Log In or Register to continue

Nov 28, 2017 | Posted by in Dental Materials | Comments Off on Accuracy of Kubelka–Munk reflectance theory for dental resin composite material
Premium Wordpress Themes by UFO Themes