Friday, June 1 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
38. (Book and Paper) You’re Printing What? Where? The material stability and safety of 3D printing thermoplastic polymers for fused filament fabrication.

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The rapid growth and adoption of 3D printing technologies has or will soon bring a new generation of printed polymer objects into our collections. With almost half a million printers shipped in 2016 alone, 3D printed objects are likely to stay with us for as long as the polymers last. While 3D printing encompasses a variety of distinct processes, fused filament fabrication (FFF) is the most popular and accessible 3D printing technology, utilizing a heated nozzle head to deposit layers of polymer into a computer generated design. FFF is widely used in museums, arts, and educational settings as a low-cost teaching tool. At the University of Florida (UF), we have printed exhibit mounts, archaeological replicas for classroom use, and prosthetics for a children’s charity. Despite the widespread adoption of FFF technology, little testing has been done to either understand the stability of the thermoplastic polymers used in these printers or potential health ramifications of bringing industrial production methods to a desktop printer. To better understand the long-term stability of the variety of polymers compatible with the 3D printers at UF, the UF Libraries are undertaking Oddy testing and Photographic Activity Testing on the commercially available polymers to understand their long-term stability for possible use in collection storage and display. In parallel with the material testing, we will be measuring the emission of ultrafine particles (UFPs) during the printing process. UFPs and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) impact indoor air quality and may be a potential health risk to users. The results of this testing will help conservators make key materials decisions for the health and safety of our collections and our creators. Materials testing will provide insights to potential hazards entering collections as well as potential tools for use in creating custom housings and exhibit mounts. Understanding the emission of UFPs during printing can help guide room and ventilation design to minimize potential health risks to conservators, artists, and other makers.

avatar for Fletcher B. Durant

Fletcher B. Durant

Librarian (Preservation), Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Fletcher Durant is the Preservation Librarian at the University of Florida Smathers Libraries. His work focuses on the preventive conservation of library and archival materials, the sustainability of cultural heritage, and risk management. He is a trained book and paper conservator... Read More →

avatar for Neelam Bharti

Neelam Bharti

Chemistry Librarian, Marston Science Library at the University of Florida
Neelam Bharti is the Chemistry Librarian at Marston Science Library at the University of Florida. She has her PhD in Chemistry from Jamia Millia Tslamia.

Friday June 1, 2018 3:30pm - 4:00pm
Texas Ballroom (Foyer outside Ballrooms - Poster Session) Marriott Marquis Houston

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