Study of the Environmental Implications of Using Metal Powder in Additive Manufacturing and Its Handling
Arrizubieta Arrate, Jon Iñaki
Ostolaza Gaztelupe, Marta
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Metals 10(2) : (2020) // Article ID 261
Additive Manufacturing, AM, is considered to be environmentally friendly when compared to conventional manufacturing processes. Most researchers focus on resource consumption when performing the corresponding Life Cycle Analysis, LCA, of AM. To that end, the sustainability of AM is compared to processes like milling. Nevertheless, factors such as resource use, pollution, and the effects of AM on human health and society should be also taken into account before determining its environmental impact. In addition, in powder-based AM, handling the powder becomes an issue to be addressed, considering both the operator´s health and the subsequent management of the powder used. In view of these requirements, the fundamentals of the different powder-based AM processes were studied and special attention paid to the health risks derived from the high concentrations of certain chemical compounds existing in the typically employed materials. A review of previous work related to the environmental impact of AM is presented, highlighting the gaps found and the areas where deeper research is required. Finally, the implications of the reuse of metallic powder and the procedures to be followed for the disposal of waste are studied.