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Emission control of desktop 3D printing

The effects of a filter cover and an air purifier
: Gu, Jianwei; Uhde, Erik; Wensing, Michael; Xia, Fanxuan; Salthammer, Tunga


Environmental Science & Technology Letters 6 (2019), No.8, pp.499-503
ISSN: 2328-8930
Journal Article
Fraunhofer WKI ()

Three-dimensional (3D) printers using the fused filament fabrication technique are in widespread use, and they are known to emit ultrafine particles (UFPs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This fact raises concerns due to their impact on indoor air quality and human health. Several emission control measures have been previously proposed but without being confirmed in the near real-life situation. In this study, the effectiveness of the control measures in reducing the UFPs and VOCs was tested in a standardized 30 m3 environmental test chamber. We found that a filter cover and an air purifier were effective in removing 74–93% of UFPs, with the filter cover providing the best UFP filtration. Control at the source location seems to be more efficient than trying to remove particles following their emission. However, the control measures showed varying abilities to remove major VOCs of styrene and ethylbenzene. Moreover, new VOCs were emitted from the use of control devices. After the newly opened filters had been conditioned and the control devices had been operated for 4–5 days, the VOC emissions decreased. The study shows the necessity of further studies of VOC control measures, which should preferably have efficient and consistent removal ability, as well as minimal emissions.