3D printer

UL Assessed the Safety of 3D Printing

July 2, 2017
In the first phase of its project to generate standards for safer 3D printing, the UL assess airborne particles and volatile compounds released during extrusion of several polymer filaments.

A two-year study from Underwriters Laboratory examines the implications of ultrafine particles and volatile organic compounds released during 3D printing on human health. Although enclosures and other features on 3D printers are usually included to minimize the release of airborne particles during extrusion, further investigation is needed to develop standards that will ensure the safety of people in the area.

UL presented its results at the Summit on the Safety Science of 3D Printing. Its study explores several polymer filaments, including ABS and PLA, which produce similar levels of ultrafine particles. They identified 50 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released during printing, of which the most significant were styrene, caprolactam, and lactide.

“Emissions from 3D printing can be a source of ultrafine particles in the nanoparticle size range as well as a source of certain VOCs, some of which are odorants, irritants, and chronic or acute hazards,” writes Marilyn Black, VP and Senior Technical Advisor at UL. “These exposure levels are generally low and complete risk assessments have not been conducted, but a precautionary approach of providing good building ventilation with outdoor air exchange and local ventilation in areas where 3D printing is occurring would be prudent.”

UL will continue to study different filament to assess toxicity and emissions, and also begin to develop American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards for measuring and assessing printer emissions indoors. The study was presented at the Safety Science of 3D printing Summit, February 22-23, in Atlanta, Georgia. It was conducted with partners Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University Rollins School of Public Health

About the Author

Leah Scully | Associate Content Producer

Leah Scully is a graduate of The College of New Jersey. She has a BS degree in Biomedical Engineering with a mechanical specialization.  Leah is responsible for Machine Design’s news items that cover industry trends, research, and applied science and engineering, along with product galleries. Visit her on Facebook, or view her profile on LinkedIn

Sponsored Recommendations

Crisis averted: How our AI-powered services helped prevent a factory fire

July 10, 2024
Discover how Schneider Electric's services helped a food and beverage manufacturer avoid a factory fire with AI-powered analytics.

Pumps Push the Boundaries of Low Temperature Technology

June 14, 2024
As an integral part of cryotechnology, KNF pumps facilitate scientific advances in cryostats, allowing them to push temperature boundaries and approach absolute zero.

The entire spectrum of drive technology

June 5, 2024
Read exciting stories about all aspects of maxon drive technology in our magazine.

MONITORING RELAYS — TYPES AND APPLICATIONS

May 15, 2024
Production equipment is expensive and needs to be protected against input abnormalities such as voltage, current, frequency, and phase to stay online and in operation for the ...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Machine Design, create an account today!