3D printer as a potential source of indoor air pollution

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3D printing has been gaining popularity in the past few years for both personal and professional uses. However, recent results showed that desktop 3D printers emit particles and compounds, which have negative health effects. In this study, the emission from commercially available 3D printing polymers was evaluated. Volatile organic compounds (VOC) emission was studied by using commercial printer placed in gas tight chamber, but also in a very universal test, which simulates the condition in fused filament fabrication 3D printers and in the same time allows for comparison of various filaments without the impact of the 3D printer itself (ex vivo approach). VOC emission can be associated with thermal degradation of polymers as well as degradation of additives such as plasticizers, dyes or flame retardants, as confirmed by detailed FTIR analysis of filaments. The obtained results highlight the problem of emissions of harmful compounds, and the proposed testing methods can be a clue for plastic filament producers on how to test their products and make them safer.

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The research was co-financed by the European Union from the Regional Operational Program of the Lesser Poland Voivodeship for the years 2014–2020, Priority axis 1 Knowledge economy, Activity 1.2. Research innovations in enterprises, Sub-activity 1.2.1. Research and development projects of enterprises: “Photocatalytic air filtration system for limiting the emission of pollutants generated during 3D printing.” (Grant No. RPMP.01.02.01-12-0509/16-00).

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Correspondence to T. Baran.

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Editorial responsibility: M. Abbaspour.

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Wojtyła, S., Klama, P., Śpiewak, K. et al. 3D printer as a potential source of indoor air pollution. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 17, 207–218 (2020).

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  • ABS
  • Acrylonitrile–butadiene–styrene
  • PLA
  • Fused filament fabrication (FFF)
  • VOC emission
  • Indoor pollutants