Advances in 3D printing materials processing-environmental impacts and alleviation measures

J. Nyika, F. M. Mwema*, Rasheedat Modupe Mahamood, E. T. Akinlabi, T. C. Jen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Additive manufacturing is one of the most promising contemporary technologies with the ability to revolutionise, fasten, customise and decentralise manufacturing. This short review explores the technology in reference to its environmental impacts and suggests solutions to reduce negative impacts. 3D printing was claimed to reduce energy consumptions and carbon dioxide emissions compared to conventional machining technologies. These advantages, however, depend on the printing technology and material used. 3D printing has been suggested to be energy inefficient, produce waste from support beds and low-quality prints and emit particulate matter and toxic volatile organic compounds, which are harmful to the environment and human health. Metals were found to be the most recyclable and most suitable for an optimised circular economy adopting additive manufacturing. To reduce these impacts, it is prudent to minimise active print time per product, reduce the idling time of printers, use greener, biodegradable or recyclable printing materials and optimise the printing orientation and geometrics to prevent material wastage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1275-1285
Number of pages11
JournalAdvances in Materials and Processing Technologies
Issue numbersup3
Early online date29 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

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