A large amount of harmful materials are emitted during the 3D printing process. However, there has been little research findings that specifically deal with the amount of hazardous emissions according to the materials and production methods used in 3D printing, and how much of the emissions are reduced from ventilation.
Asan Medical Center (AMC) research team led by Professor Namkug Kim of the Department of Convergence Medicine released research results suggesting that the use of workplace ventilation system significantly reduces the concentration of hazardous materials generated during the 3D printing process below the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation.
The research team used six different materials including PLA, ABS and TPU that are often used in 3D printing and ran the 3D printer in two ways: material extrusion of melting plastic materials with heat; and, vat photopolymerization of changing the properties of liquid chemicals with ultraviolet rays and hardening them. After running the printer, the formaldehyde concentration exceeded the WHO recommendation in 30 minutes, but it was confirmed that the concentration dropped below the recommendation within 5 minutes after ventilation. It was also demonstrated that the levels of fine particles (PM10) and ultrafine particles (PM2.5) were maintained similar to or lower than those in general atmosphere when ventilation was applied.
Professor Kim said, “This research is meaningful in that it accurately measured the risk of hazardous emissions according to the materials and production methods used in 3D printing and revealed the importance of workplace ventilation systems. I hope this research will serve as a basis for safe use of 3D printing.”
The research results were published in ‘Scientific Report,’ an international academic journal.