Modelling of environmental impacts of printed self-healing products

Akos Cseke, Merryn Haines-Gadd, Paul Mativenga*, Fiona Charnley, Bradley Thomas, Justin Perry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Products utilising self-healing materials have the potential to restore some of their function following damage, thereby extending the product lifespan and contributing to waste prevention and increased product safety. Despite the growing interest in these products, there a lack of comprehensive studies on the environmental implications of self-healing products and the parameters that influence impacts. The study presented in this paper combined life cycle assessment combined with a Taguchi experimental design and analysis of variance to investigate the effect of various parameters across the life stages of a self-healing composite product manufactured by 3D printing using poly-lactic acid (PLA) and self-healing polyurethane (PU). The results of this study suggests that impacts are primarily affected by avoided production due to the increased service of the product, followed by electricity requirements and material deposition rate (efficiency) of 3D printing. In the case of water consumption raw material manufacturing of PLA and PU are the highest and hence should be a target for research on reducing their water footprint. When comparing self-healing vs. regular products it is evident that most of the impacts are dominated by the electricity consumption of the manufacturing process. These results suggest that maximising avoided production can play a major role in reducing impacts of 3D printed products. The results are important for maximising the circularity of additive manufacturing products while minimising their life cycle impact.
Original languageEnglish
Article number150780
Number of pages9
JournalThe Science of the Total Environment
Volume807
Issue numberPart 2
Early online date4 Oct 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Oct 2021

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