An investigation into the characteristics and formation mechanisms of particles originating from the operation of laser printers
ABSTRACT While current research has demonstrated that the operation of some laser printers results in emission of high concentrations of ultrafine particles, fundamental gaps in knowledge in relation to the emissions still remain. In particular, there have been no answers provided to questions such as the following: (1) What is the composition of the particles? (2) What are their formation mechanisms? (3) Why are some printers high emitters, while others are low? Considering the widespread use of printers and human exposure to these particles, understanding the process of particle formation is of critical importance. This study, using state-of-the-art instrumental methods, has addressed these three points. We present experimental evidence that indicates that intense bursts of particles are associated with temperature fluctuations and suggest that the difference between high and low emitters lies in the speed and sophistication of the temperature control. We have also shown, for the first time, that the particles are volatile and are of secondary nature, being formed in the air from VOC originating from both the paper and hot toner. Some of the toner is initially deposited on the fuser roller, after which the organic compounds evaporate and then form particles, through one of two main reaction pathways: homogeneous nucleation or secondary particle formation involving ozone.
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ABSTRACT: Abstract An association between laser printer use and emissions of particulate matter (PM), ozone and volatile organic compounds has been reported in recent studies. However, the detailed physico-chemical, morphological and toxicological characterization of these printer-emitted particles (PEPs) and possible incorporation of engineered nanomaterials into toner formulations remain largely unknown. In this study, a printer exposure generation system suitable for the physico-chemical, morphological, and toxicological characterization of PEPs was developed and used to assess the properties of PEPs from the use of commercially available laser printers. The system consists of a glovebox type environmental chamber for uninterrupted printer operation, real-time and time-integrated particle sampling instrumentation for the size fractionation and sampling of PEPs and an exposure chamber for inhalation toxicological studies. Eleven commonly used laser printers were evaluated and ranked based on their PM emission profiles. Results show PM peak emissions are brand independent and varied between 3000 to 1 300 000 particles/cm(3), with modal diameters ranging from 49 to 208 nm, with the majority of PEPs in the nanoscale (<100 nm) size. Furthermore, it was shown that PEPs can be affected by certain operational parameters and printing conditions. The release of nanoscale particles from a nano-enabled product (printer toner) raises questions about health implications to users. The presented PEGS platform will help in assessing the toxicological profile of PEPs and the link to the physico-chemical and morphological properties of emitted PM and toner formulations.Inhalation Toxicology 06/2014; 26(7):400-8. · 1.89 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The development of low-cost desktop versions of three-dimensional (3D) printers has made these devices widely accessible for rapid prototyping and small-scale manufacturing in home and office settings. Many desktop 3D printers rely on heated thermoplastic extrusion and deposition, which is a process that has been shown to have significant aerosol emissions in industrial environments. However, we are not aware of any data on particle emissions from commercially available desktop 3D printers. Therefore, we report on measurements of size-resolved and total ultrafine particle (UFP) concentrations resulting from the operation of two types of commercially available desktop 3D printers inside a commercial office space. We also estimate size-resolved (11.5 nm-116 nm) and total UFP (<100 nm) emission rates and compare them to emission rates from other desktop devices and indoor activities known to emit fine and ultrafine particles. Estimates of emission rates of total UFPs were large, ranging from ˜2.0 × 1010 # min-1 for a 3D printer utilizing a polylactic acid (PLA) feedstock to ˜1.9 × 1011 # min-1 for the same type of 3D printer utilizing a higher temperature acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) thermoplastic feedstock. Because most of these devices are currently sold as standalone devices without any exhaust ventilation or filtration accessories, results herein suggest caution should be used when operating in inadequately ventilated or unfiltered indoor environments. Additionally, these results suggest that more controlled experiments should be conducted to more fundamentally evaluate particle emissions from a wider arrange of desktop 3D printers.Atmospheric Environment 11/2013; · 3.11 Impact Factor