It looks as though the scientific community may soon be no longer
completely ignorant of the thermoelectric behavior of metallic dental
At the recent XIII International Forum On Thermoelectricity held in
Kiev, Ukraine, from 10 to 13 February, Professor Lukian I. Anatychuk,
one of the World's leading authorities on thermoelectrics, accepted
responsibility for answering questions on the subject of
thermoelectric phenomena in metal dental fillings, and undertook to
respond in due course to a number of specific questions on the subject
which were presented to the forum on Tuesday 12th February.
The questions were posted via live Skype link-up to the forum, and the
exchange of messages which lead to Professor Anatychuk's historic
undertaking are recorded in Skype as follows:
hello! type your message here
[12/02/2009 12:08:10] Keith P Walsh says: Are metallic dental
restorations which consist of dissimilar metals in contact with each
other able to generate thermoelectric potentials?
[12/02/2009 12:08:54] Keith P Walsh says: And are these potentials
large enough to dissipate electrical energy through the nerves in
[12/02/2009 12:10:58] Keith P Walsh says: Remember that dentists
sometimes screw a metal alloy retaining pin into the root socket of a
patient's tooth and encase the head of the pin in metal amalgam. And
dental restorations are subjected to thermal gradients all the time.
[12/02/2009 12:11:28] XIII Forum of Thermoelectricity says: who do you
want to address the question?
[12/02/2009 12:11:44] Keith P Walsh says: Professor Anatychuk
[12/02/2009 12:16:58] Keith P Walsh says: Volta's frog's leg
experiment - for two dissimilar conductors in contact with the frog's
leg - how big does the temperature differential have to be to make the
frog's leg jump? how many degree K - to Prof. Anatychuk
[12/02/2009 12:17:05] XIII Forum of Thermoelectricity says: Introduce
Your question is accepted.
Professor will answer, when will be in a position.
[12/02/2009 12:18:56] Keith P Walsh says: My name is Keith Walsh, I am
in the UK. I have read that metal dental fillings generate electrical
potentials up to 350 milliviolts - is this a thermoelectric potential?
[12/02/2009 12:19:41] Keith P Walsh says: my e-mail address is
It will be interesting to see whether Professor Anatychuk follows
established scientific procedure and carries out experimental
investigations to measure the thermoelectric behaviors of any metal
dental restorations in order to verify his answers, or whether he will
choose the entirely unscientific option of simply "declaring" that the
thermoelectric properties of such dental restorations cannot possibly
be of any significance on the grounds that no-one (including himself)
appears to have any idea what these properties actually are.
Does anyone know when the report of the findings of the XIII
International Forum On Thermoelectricity is due to be published?
Keith P Walsh
PS, in his paper, "On the discovery of thermoelectricity by Volta.",
(Journal of Thermoelectricity, 2004, No.2, p5-10.), Professor L I
Anatychuk cites Alessandro Volta's frog's leg experiment (see:
) as evidence for
suggesting that a single thermoelectric couple under an ordinary
thermal gradient is able to generate sufficient thermoelectric
potential to excite neurological function in animal tissue. Does
anyone know of any reason why this principle should not apply in
humans as well as in frogs?
PPS, readers may be interested to visit the website of the
International Thermoelectric Society at:
13 years ago