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Nanocluster Aerosol Emissions of a 3D Printer

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13618−13628
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 7 Nov 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


Many studies exist that characterize the aerosol emissions from fused filament fabrication three-dimensional (3D) printers. However, nanocluster aerosol (NCA) particles, that is particles in a size range under 3 nm, are rarely studied. The purpose of this study was to characterize the NCA emissions and the contribution of NCA to the total particle number emissions from a 3D printer. We used a particle size magnifier and a scanning mobility particle sizer to measure the time evolution of particle size distribution, which was used to calculate the average NCA emission rates during a printer operation in a chamber. The NCA emission rates ranged from 1.4 × 106 to 7.3 × 109 s-1 depending on the applied combination of filament material and nozzle temperature, showing increasing emission with increasing temperature. The NCA emissions constitute from 9 to 48% of the total emissions, that is, almost half of the particle emissions may have been previously neglected. Therefore, it is essential to include the low NCA size range in, for example, future 3D-printer-testing protocols, emission measurement standards, and risk management measures.

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Field of science, Statistics Finland