The purpose of this study was to compare torque force and rotation needed to fracture three types of nickel titanium alloy rotary instruments in a simulated curved root canal space that were bound at the file tip. Files of similar size tips were studied. The files studied were ProFiles with 0.04 taper diameters of 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45; 0.04 ProFile GT sizes 20, 30, 40; and ProTaper files sizes S1, S2, F1, F2, and F3. All files were 25 mm in length. Unwinding was defined as the rotation in degrees it took for a file to fracture after the first evidence of permanent deformation. All files exhibited permanent deformation before breaking, with the ProFile GT files demonstrating the greatest unwinding. The #45 0.04 ProFile withstood the most force while the #20 ProFile GT required the least amount of force before beginning to exhibit permanent deformation. The S1 and S2 ProTaper files fractured with so little rotation that no extended data were recorded. Gener ally, as the file diameter increased, the force needed to begin unwinding also increased. Also, as the file diameter increased, the force needed to fracture also increased. Copyright © 2005 by the American Association of Endodontists.