Buyer Beware Of 3-D Printer Emissions
Indoor Air Pollution: Particulates and volatile organic compounds could reach harmful levels in office-sized spaces
Emissions of Ultrafine Particles and Volatile Organic Compounds from Commercially Available Desktop Three-Dimensional Printers with Multiple Filaments
Previous research has shown that desktop 3D printers can emit large numbers of ultrafine particles (UFPs, particles less than 100 nm) and some hazardous volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during printing, although very few filament and 3D printer combinations have been tested to date. Here we quantify emissions of UFPs and speciated VOCs from five commercially available filament extrusion desktop 3D printers utilizing up to nine different filaments by controlled experiments in a test chamber. Median estimates of time-varying UFP emission rates ranged from ‰?1Ú4108 to ‰?1Ú41011 min"1 across all tested combinations, varying primarily by filament material and, to a lesser extent, bed temperature. The individual VOCs emitted in the largest quantities included caprolactam from nylon-based and imitation wood and brick filaments (ranging from ‰?1Ú42 to ‰?1Ú4180 ë1Ú4g/min), styrene from acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS) filaments (ranging from ‰?1Ú410 to !
‰?1Ú4110 ë1Ú4g/min), and lactide from polylactic acid (PLA) filaments (ranging from ‰?1Ú44 to ‰?1Ú45 ë1Ú4g/min). Results from a screening analysis of potential exposure to these products in a typical small office environment suggest caution should be used when operating many of the printer and filament combinations in poorly ventilated spaces or without the aid of combined gas and particle filtration systems.
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