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Title: Particle emission levels in the user operating environment of powder, ink and filament-based 3D printers
Authors: Ding, Shirun
Ng, Bing Feng
Keywords: Engineering::Mechanical engineering
Issue Date: 2021
Source: Ding, S. & Ng, B. F. (2021). Particle emission levels in the user operating environment of powder, ink and filament-based 3D printers. Rapid Prototyping Journal, 27(6), 1124-1132.
Project: MOE2016- T2-1–063 
Journal: Rapid Prototyping Journal 
Abstract: Purpose: This study aims to examine on-site particle concentration levels due to emissions from a wide spectrum of additive manufacturing techniques, including polymer-based material extrusion, metal and polymer-based powder bed fusion, directed energy deposition and ink-based material jetting. Design/methodology/approach: Particle concentrations in the operating environments of users were measured using a combination of particle sizers including the TSI 3910 Nano SMPS (10–420 nm) and the TSI 3330 optical particle sizer (0.3–10 µm). Also, fumes from a MEX printer during printing were directly captured using laser imaging method. Findings: The number and mass concentration of submicron particles emitted from a desktop open-type MEX printer for acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene and polyvinyl alcohol approached and significantly exceeded the nanoparticle reference limits, respectively. Through laser imaging, fumes were observed to originate from the printer nozzle and from newly deposited layers of the desktop MEX printer. On the other hand, caution should be taken in the pre-processing of metal and polymer powder. Specifically, one to ten micrometers of particles were observed during the sieving, loading and cleaning of powder, with transient mass concentrations ranging between 150 and 9,000 µg/m3 that significantly exceeded the threshold level suggested for indoor air quality. Originality/value: Preliminary investigation into possible exposures to particle emissions from different 3D printing processes was done, which is useful for the sustainable development of the 3D printing industry. In addition, automatic processes that enable “closed powder cycle” or “powder free handling” should be adopted to prevent users from unnecessary particle exposure.
ISSN: 1355-2546
DOI: 10.1108/RPJ-02-2020-0039
Rights: © 2021 Emerald Publishing Limited. All rights reserved. This paper was published in Rapid Prototyping Journal and is made available with permission of Emerald Publishing Limited.
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:MAE Journal Articles
SC3DP Journal Articles

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