Next Article in Journal
Hot Extrusion Enhanced Homogenization of Microstructure in a Spray Deposition Aluminum Alloy
Previous Article in Journal
The Effect of Electroslag Remelting on the Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of CrNiMoWMnV Ultrahigh-Strength Steels
Previous Article in Special Issue
Laser Powder Bed Fusion of Inconel 718: Residual Stress Analysis Before and After Heat Treatment
Order Article Reprints
Font Type:
Arial Georgia Verdana
Font Size:
Aa Aa Aa
Line Spacing:
Column Width:

Study of the Environmental Implications of Using Metal Powder in Additive Manufacturing and Its Handling

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of the Basque Country, Plaza Torres Quevedo 1, 48013 Bilbao, Spain
Department of Mechanics, Design and Industrial Management, University of Deusto, Avda. de las Universidades 24, 48014 Bilbao, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Metals 2020, 10(2), 261;
Received: 16 January 2020 / Revised: 10 February 2020 / Accepted: 12 February 2020 / Published: 17 February 2020


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.

1. Introduction

Additive manufacturing (AM) is a technology that has the potential of generating a change in the way manufacturing is conceived as well as in the world economy. Initially, it emerged as an alternative that allowed rapid prototyping (RP) of complex parts in the design or early manufacturing stages. Nevertheless, today AM allows the manufacture of complex parts that otherwise would be impossible or too expensive to achieve, as well as a large number of advantages that can reduce manufacturing costs. Based on a survey conducted in 2018, more than 30% of the components manufactured using AM technology are functional parts [1]. Besides, AM offers the possibility to redesign the entire value chain [2].
However, AM is at an early stage. Although the number of parts manufactured using this technology is growing at a rate of 25% per year, they still comprise a small fraction of the total worldwide production. According to the analysis presented by Wholers Associates in 2017, AM represented less than 0.1% of total world manufacturing [1]. However, the Digital Transformation Monitor of the European Commission states that by 2021 the AM market will reach 9.65 billion € [3]. Among AM technologies, one of the processes that is gaining relevance based on its capability to manufacture functional parts is metal AM. In fact, the number of equipment dedicated to metal AM sold in 2016 was 983, whereas, in the year 2017 this value rose to 1768 units, which implies an 80% increase [1].
As far as economy and sustainability are concerned, AM offers several advantages over conventional manufacturing techniques, which confers many potential applications to AM in diverse industrial sectors, such as automotive, aerospace, biomedical, energy, and consumer goods [4]. In the aerospace industry, for example, AM enables aerospace motorists to create blades with much more complex internal cooling channels, allowing engines to run at higher temperatures and thus increase their performance [5]. In the report presented by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, it is stated that in aerospace engines titanium parts are machined down to size from large initial blocks, which leads to more than 90% waste material, material waste that could be reduced by using AM [6]. The European Commission in the Digital Transformation Monitor of 2017 presented similar numbers, where the disruptive nature of 3D printing was studied. It was estimated that by 2050, AM could save up to 90% of the raw material needed for manufacturing [3].
Nonetheless, the possibilities of AM are not only limited to a reduction of raw material usage. The possibility of manufacturing lighter components could lead to energy savings, estimated between 5% and 25% by 2050, as well as a reduction in manufacturing costs of around 4–21% for the same period [7]. This trend is applicable to different industrial sectors. For example, SmarTech expects the overall market for AM in automotive to reach 5.3 billion USD in revenues by 2023 and to achieve 12.4 billion USD by 2028 [8].
The lack of European and international standardization related to AM is proving to be an impediment to the implementation of this technology on a large scale [3]. To meet this challenge, in 2013 the European project for Support Action for Standardization in Additive Manufacturing (SASAM) developed a roadmap for the standardization of this technology [9]. In that work, several standard categories were distinguished, including design, industry-specific requirements, quality of manufactured parts, materials, information processing, safety regulations, and education.
Nevertheless, further work is required in the AM field, especially when metallic powder is used during the manufacturing process. In view of this need, hereafter the main metal AM processes are detailed. Also, the advantages and disadvantages that AM offers regarding the sustainability of the process are discussed. Finally, the handling of the used powder in metal AM is studied, focusing on the issues regarding the hazards in the workplace and the treatment of the waste material.

2. Methodology Applied for the Literature Review

Systematic Literature Review (SLR) was used for determining the review field [10], see Figure 1. This is an objective, systematic, and replicable method, which makes the revision of the state of the art clearer and more concise [11]. SLR makes it possible to determine the necessary criteria to determine the relevant research within the field of additive manufacturing, specifically with regard to the sustainability of the process.
In addition, the snowball approach was used, which allows a wider range of searches based on the reference list of a paper or the citations to identify relevant publications [12,13].
First, the main questions were established: "What is the environmental impact of additive manufacturing?" "How is the waste generated in the process managed?" Keywords were also defined: AM (Additive Manufacturing), LCA (Life Cycle Assessment), Sustainability, Recycle, and Reuse. The search was performed in databases such as Scopus and ScienceDirect, both belonging to Elsevier, and different combinations of the keyword strings were used. The results obtained for the different keyword combinations are shown in Table 1.
The search was limited to books and journals, where both review and research articles were considered. Only manuscripts in English were included and, to guarantee the quality of the search, publications corresponding to national or international conference papers that were not published in International JCR (Journal Citation Reports) Journals were automatically discarded. In addition, in the first approach, references prior to the year 2010 were not considered. Nevertheless, those relevant references obtained using the snowball approach were included in the review despite not fulfilling some of the criteria explained above. Among the manuscripts found with the keywords Laser, Metal, and Additive Manufacturing, those that focused on process modeling and metallographic study were eliminated.

3. Metal AM processes

According to the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) group “ASTM F42-Additive Manufacturing,” AM technologies are classified into seven categories [14]. More specifically, according to Hopkinson et al., AM technologies can be subdivided into 18 technologies, where they are divided according to the material type [15]:
Liquid-based processes: Stereolithography, Jetting Systems, Direct Light processingTM technologies, High-Viscosity Jetting, and Maple process.
Powder-based processes: Selective Laser Sintering (polymers), Selective Laser Sintering (Ceramics and Metals), Direct Metal Laser Sintering, Three-Dimensional Printing, Fused Metal Deposition Systems, Electron Beam Melting, Selective Laser Melting, Selective Masking Sintering, Selective Inhibition Sintering, Electrophotographic Layered Manufacturing, and High-Speed Sintering.
Solid-based processes: Fused Deposition Modelling and Sheet Stacking Technologies.
Among the different technologies, those capable of manufacturing fully dense and functional metallic parts are the Electron Beam Melting (EBM), Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS), and Fused Metal Deposition (FMD) methods. Nevertheless, since Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and DMLS were developed, metal materials are manufactured by these processes rather than by SLS.
EBM technology was developed and patented by Arcam, and uses an electron beam source for melting the metallic powder layers in a vacuum chamber [16]. DMLS was first developed by EOS in the 1990s [17], whereas the SLM was first patented by the ILT Fraunhofer in 1995, patent number DE 19649865 [18]. Both processes are similar and based on the same working principle, with the main difference being that in SLM the powder-shaped material is completely melted, whereas in DMLS powder is partially melted and sintered [19]. From their inception, variations of the above-mentioned initial technologies have arisen and all of them grouped within the name Powder Bed Fusion (PBF), see Table 2.
The first Fused Metal Deposition system was developed in 1997 under the name LENS (Laser Engineering Net Shaping) after an agreement between the Sandia National Laboratory [20] and Pratt and Whitney (United Technologies Corporation). Similar technologies have been launched to the market under different names ever since, such as Laser Metal Deposition (LMD) and Selective Laser Cladding (SLC). Still, the working principle is similar in all of them. In all of them, powder-shaped metal is directed toward the melt pool generated by a laser beam, and all can be included under the name of Directed Energy Deposition (DED), see Table 2.

3.1. Fundamentals of the DED Process

The DED is mainly applied to build fully dense functional parts, coat damaged parts, or enhance the surface properties in certain regions [22]. In DED, a melt pool is generated in the surface of the substrate by an energy source, see Figure 2. Meanwhile, filler material is injected simultaneously through a nozzle [23]. The filler material is usually powder or wire-shaped [24], and melted by the energy source and adhered to the substrate. Therefore, by properly overlapping the generated clads, subsequent layers are overlaid until the required geometry is obtained [25]. The nozzle has a double function, it directs the filler material towards the melt pool and it is also responsible for avoiding material oxidation by generating a protective atmosphere.
One of the main advantages of the DED technology when compared to other additive processes, such as arc welding or plasma spraying, is the comparatively low total amount of energy introduced into the substrate, which leads to minimum geometrical distortions [26]. Consequently, the dilution between layers is minimized and a fine microstructure is generated [27]. Thanks to these characteristics, final parts with good mechanical properties and reduced imperfections are achieved.
The DED process is used with different materials and research related to tool steels [28], stainless steels [29], titanium alloys [30], nickel alloys [31], and copper alloys [32] have been already published. Besides, the DED also enables enhancing the surface properties and adapting gradually to the final requirements by means of Functionally Graded Materials [33,34]. One of the main advantages of DED is the capability to produce near-net-shape parts, which results in a reduction of the waste material generated and an environmentally friendlier process [35]. For example, buy-to-fly material ratios of 4:1 are commonly achieved in traditional five-axis milling processes, with some components having ratios up to 20:1 [36]. Nevertheless, LMD is capable of reducing these buy-to-fly ratios to below 1.5:1 [37].
The DED is mainly applied to the remanufacturing, coating, and repair of existing parts [38], as well as to push the design limits of processes such as machining, allowing the development of innovative geometries [39,40]. For example, DED is used for the manufacture and repair of high-added-value parts of aerospace engine components [41,42], die and molds [43], and high-resistance coatings [44], among others.
Nevertheless, DED technology presents several limiting factors that restrict its applications, for example, the relatively low accuracy of the final parts and the resulting high surface roughness [45]. Therefore, it is necessary to include postprocessing operations to match the final requirements. In addition, the directional nature of the additive process results in anisotropic properties. Consequently, corrective measures are required during the DED process to avoid cracking of the material, reduce geometrical distortions [46], and manufacture near-net-shape functional parts with close tolerances and acceptable residual stress [47].
An alternative to the use of a laser source is the WAAM (Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing), which enables processing of a wide range of materials and higher deposition rates [48]. However, WAAM uses wire as feedstock material, instead of powder-shaped particles, which reduces the health issues and environmental impact of this technology. Therefore, this technology is left out of the present study, which is focused on the handling of the powder particles used in additive processes.

3.2. Fundamentals of the PBF Process

Powder Bed Fusion is a two-step process. First, a thin layer of material is predeposited and then determined regions are selectively melted using a heat source, which is typically a laser beam. Constant layer height is ensured by means of a recoater or powder leveling system, see Figure 3, which feeds the powder-shaped material to the build chamber. This process is repeated successively until the desired final part is obtained. Once the process is completed and the part finished, the metal powder that remains unmelted can be sieved and reused [49].
The process takes place inside a closed chamber, which is filled with inert gas in the case of PBF. Also, support structures are usually employed to build overhanging regions and improve heat dissipation [50]. Consequently, the proper orientation of the part and the location of the supports are factors to keep in mind in PBF.
One of the main applications of the PBF technologies is the full manufacture of 3D parts that include complex geometrical details, where good accuracy and resolution are attained. Furthermore, they offer the opportunity to work with a wide range of materials, including metals, ceramics, polymers, and composites. Therefore, PBF is becoming a relevant tool for aerospace and biomedical applications [51]. Examples of PBF technology applications are the manufacture of functional parts for medical implants [52,53] and turbine blades with embedded cooling channels [54].
The parts produced by means of PBF are limited by the size of the build chamber and the deposition rate is lower than that of DED, see Table 3. Nevertheless, PBF enables higher complexity and better surface finish.

3.3. Powder Employed in Metal AM and Its Health Issues

In this section, some of the most typical powders employed in metal AM are analyzed. Powders with various characteristics and used in the different industrial sectors are studied, which are detailed in Table 4. The main characteristics of the different powders as well as the applications were obtained from the information provided by the different metal powder manufacturers.
The use of small powder particles, see Figure 4b, involves serious hazards to human health and the environment. Every powder container must be properly labeled, and the corresponding hazard classification must be indicated. CLP hazard pictograms are found on all powder bottles, see Figure 4a.
The powders analyzed are composed of 45–150 µm diameter particles, which is a typical value for DED applications, and therefore, the analyzed hazards are applied to that particle size. Smaller diameter particles may generate other health and environmental issues not studied in the present case.
The hazardous nature of each material depends mainly on its composition, which determines the exposure limits. In Table 6, the CAS and EC numbers of each element of the alloys defined in Table 5 are detailed.
For each material, the corresponding hazard classification is shown and the limit values according to the Spanish Law 1/2014 of the Environmental Limit Value (EVL) for a Daily Exposure (DE) are specified. Information not provided by the suppliers regarding the classification of the materials is complemented with the European Chemicals Agency database [70], whereas the EVL-DE in Spain has been completed with information from the Spanish National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health [71].
The TWA (Time Weighted Average) is also shown, with units in mg/m3 for an 8 h exposure. The missing data are completed with information from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor [72] and the NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC )[73].
The explanation of the hazard codes employed in Table 5 and Table 6 are detailed in Table 7, where the hazard category and the corresponding statement are detailed. Information is obtained from the “Guidance on the Application of the CLP Criteria” published by the European Chemicals Agency in 2017 [74].

4. AM—A Sustainable Manufacturing Process

The transformation of raw material into consumer products is an important source of environmental pollution and as a result of the process, waste is generated [75]. This issue has been amplified by the rapid technological development that has taken place in recent decades; together with the population growth, massive exploitation of resources, and pollution, waste generation has produced severe environmental issues [76]. Thus, in the last decades, efficient use of resources and environmental awareness have increased.
In this direction, Bourhis et al. studied greenhouse gas emissions and concluded that over 19% were due to industrial activity associated with manufacturing, where machining processes are the main activity [77]. Therefore, industrial processes need to balance the demand for natural resources with the capacity of the environment to respond to those demands in a sustainable manner [78].
Until the end of the 20th century, productivity was a priority and the main goal was to obtain the required quality at the lowest price, regardless of the resulting environmental impact. The concept of sustainable manufacturing did not begin until almost a decade after the United Nations environmental declaration in 1972 [79]. Since that date, sustainable manufacturing has attracted increasing attention, and nowadays, manufacturing processes not only have to guarantee products that meet the specified requirements, with a competitive price and quality, but also must ensure a minimum environmental impact.

4.1. Life Cycle Analysis

In order to quantify the environmental impact of a process, it is necessary to analyze the footprint at each stage of the product life cycle: from the extraction of the raw material to the disposal at the end of the product’s life, which is known as Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). This procedure allows an evaluation of the environmental impact from a comprehensive and objective manner [80], and makes it possible to analyze and quantify the environmental aspects of a product, process, or service along its life cycle [78,81].
In 1997, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) established the principles and the frame of reference for LCA through ISO 14040:2006, and afterward the details to perform an LCA as detailed in ISO 14044:2006 [82]. According to ISO 14040:2006, the environmental impacts can be sorted into three main categories: (a) damage to the natural environment, (b) damage to human health, and (c) resources consumption [83]. In order to carry out an LCA in accordance with the methodology proposed by ISO 14040:2006, four interrelated and iterative phases of work must be considered, which follow a more or less defined sequence, although sometimes it is possible to carry out a study in which some phases are ignored: (i) goal and scope definition, (ii) inventory analysis, (iii) impact assessment, and (iv) interpretation [84].
To gain accuracy, the LCA must be as thorough as possible and it is necessary to consider each step of the product life cycle, from extraction of the raw material to the end of life, including the manufacturing step. However, there are few methods for accurately assessing the environmental impact of a manufacturing process. Also, it is necessary to consider that not all manufacturing processes have the same environmental impact [77].
In general, AM processes are considered to be cleaner processes than traditional subtractive manufacturing (SM) processes, because the produced waste material is reduced, the design is optimized, and the resultant pieces are lighter. However, it is necessary to continue working to assess the carbon footprint of the AM processes globally [77]. In addition, the high flexibility of AM enables the redefinition of new supply-chain distributions. However, these configurations may have an additional sustainability impact that should be addressed in the LCA [85]. As Rejeski et al. stated, AM generates unique challenges and uncertainties regarding economic and social issues, and a safe and responsible use must be ensured [86].
Nevertheless, nowadays there is no AM process capable of creating ready-to-use parts. In most cases postprocessing is required, such as assembling, SM, or heat treatment, and the LCA must consider all of them in order to provide reliable information [87]. From the point of view of LCA, manufacturing processes are divided into five steps, see Figure 5 [79].
Although AM is considered an environmentally friendlier process than traditional manufacturing systems, there are not enough LCA studies to prove it. Therefore, more large-scale AM LCA analysis is necessary to support the statement that AM is environmentally friendly [88]. To be more sustainable, among others, the AM process should provide a raw materials´ efficient usage, extend product life to the maximum, consider lean supply chain (just-in-time), eliminate stock that becomes obsolete, and improve the health and safety of workers. However, some of these aspects are neither measurable nor generalizable to all contexts [89].
In contrast with the literature explaining the huge sustainability benefits, according to Niaki et al. the decision to manufacture a part using AM is not determined by its environmental benefits [90]. Instead, decisions are made based on economic aspects and the capability of AM for producing almost any complex geometry.
Therefore, despite the spreading use of AM, it is observed that both industry and academia are not well prepared to face the potential environmental and health issues, and the associated negative economic impact related to them [91]. Consequently, when referring to the sustainability of AM, the three dimensions of sustainability should be considered: economy, environment, and society, see Figure 6, with their corresponding aspects.
Due to the complexity of performing a complete LCA of AM, most of the research works have focused on the resource consumption as the main environmental issue. Baumers et al. compared two SLS commercial machines from an electric-consumption point of view [92]. Authors applied a novel classification for the energy used in AM, which can be job-, time-, geometry-, and height-dependent. They published another research work focused on the effect of the part geometry complexity on the process energy consumption [93] and concluded that the energy consumption is almost independent of the part complexity. However, the part complexity does affect the energy consumption of other traditional manufacturing processes, such as milling. Therefore, it is a key factor when determining the manufacturing process from a sustainable point of view [94]. Similarly, Nagaran and Haapala studied the DMLS process efficiency from an energetic point of view and concluded that only 10% of the total process inputs become part of the final piece, whereas the rest is lost as heat, material waste, and work [95]. The authors employed the ReCiPe impact assessment method [96]. Minetola and Eyers also studied the efficiency of AM and compared it with traditional manufacturing processes [97]. AM was concluded to be a less efficient process; however, it enables on-demand manufacturing and avoids overproduction issues.Other authors have presented broader investigations and included factors such as pollution and the impact on human health. Drizo and Pegna presented a review of the problems associated with the Environmental Impact Assessment of AM and the most relevant issues at the year 2006 [98]. In 2017, Bours et al. presented a study that highlighted the fact that the LCA does not provide enough information to make decisions based on hazard exposure [99]. They proposed a framework that analyzes the human health and environmental impact in AM and complements the LCA. Similarly, Yang and Li studied the volatile emissions produced in AM and proposed a model that was experimentally validated [100].
A common research topic is to compare AM and traditional machining operations. Faludi et al. compared two AM processes with a traditional milling machine and focused on the environmental impact of AM [101]. Other authors such as Gao et al. performed an LCA of newly manufactured and remanufactured turbochargers and compared obtained results [102]. They concluded that remanufacturing reduces energy consumption and pollutant emissions. Similarly, Böckin and Tillman presented an LCA that compares traditional manufacturing techniques with AM for the case of manufacturing a truck engine [103].
However, any investigation that wants to analyze sustainability in AM should not forget its social impact, which should be an essential part in decision making [104]. In the year 2013, Huang et al. presented a review of the social impact that produces AM. The main social benefits of AM were classified as the capability to produce customized healthcare products and the simplification of the supply chain [105].
Furthermore, in the life cycle of a product, three stages can be distinguished: design, production, use, and end-of-life [89]. Ma et al. concluded that AM has the highest social impact in the end-of-life stage [91].
Consequently, AM is especially oriented to the manufacture of spare parts, ease of disassembly, integration of components, choice of material, reduction of material waste, and postprocessing. Nevertheless, to be able to quantify the potential environmental consequences of these processes, more studies about the possible benefits and drawbacks should be performed from a localized production and a shortened lead time points of view [103]. Despite a few works that were found related to the analysis of the indirect impacts of AM [106], deeper work is still required in this field.

4.2. Ecodesign and Circular Economy

Ecodesign or Design for Environment, which are the terms used in Europe and in the U.S., respectively, is the new way for developing products where the environmental aspects are given the same status as functionality, durability, costs, time-to-market, aesthetics, ergonomics, and quality [107]. In Figure 7, the closed-loop of product life in AM processes is shown, adapted from [107].
A growing number of products and consumer goods are in demand every day, and new paradigms have emerged as a response to the need for reducing waste and limiting the consumption of natural resources. One of these new concepts is the circular economy [108].
The European Commission defines the circular economy as a production model, where the value of products, materials, and resources is maintained as long as possible, and the generation of waste is minimized [40]. The circular economy model promotes high-value material cycles along with more traditional recycling. In addition, it promotes cooperation between producers, consumers, and other social actors to increase sustainability [109].
However, it is still unclear whether reconfiguring the value chain will actually allow a more circular use of resources [110]. That is why, before implementing any circular economy strategy, it is necessary to be careful and assess it with regard to its potential sustainability [111].
Generally, AM allows extending the lifespan of the product, by repairing or updating it. Hence this technology can be integrated into the concept of the circular economy. The capabilities of AM within the circular economy have been already addressed. For instance, Sauerwein et al. studied different opportunities that AM offers in this regard [112].
In conclusion, AM has consolidated its position as a technology capable of repairing damaged parts, thus increasing its useful life. Nevertheless, during AM a series of wastes are generated that also need to be considered from a circular economy point of view, and must be reused or recycled. In view of this deficiency, the following section focuses on the handling of metallic powder used in AM.

5. Handling of Powder in Metal AM

5.1. Risks in the Workplace

AM technology offers several advantages to industrial applications, such as the capability of building spare parts on-demand or even the ability to repair worn areas by adding new features on an existing part, hence avoiding the replacement of the whole construction [113].
Although AM is gaining relevance in the industry, there is still relatively scarce information as far as health and safety issues for operators related to metal AM processes. Ljunggren et al. and Mellin et al. focused their research on the biomonitoring of metal exposure [113] and the nanoparticles generated during the AM process [114], respectively. Both of them emphasized that it is necessary to carry out further research to minimize the exposure risk to AM operators.
However, several studies have been published regarding the health effects of metal gas and particle exposure in other occupational settings. In welding, airborne nanoscale metal particles are known to be hazardous to human health, and in AM processes these particles may also be generated. Authors like Llunggren et al. performed a gravimetric analysis and concluded that the total dust exposure is low and does not present inhalation problems in AM operators, but they also remarked that transient emission of smaller particles constitutes a risk to human health [113].
In metal AM, alloys containing heavy metals are employed, therefore studies that focus on specific materials have been performed. Rehfisch et al. studied the possible health issues in workers that inhale cobalt [115]. Moreover, special attention is posed on the nanosized particles generated during the AM process. At this particle size, handling or inhaling such small particles implies an extreme exposure risk and motivates precaution. In fact, compounds that were not considered harmful for human health turned out to be toxic in the nanometer scale [114]. Such particles can easily cross biological barriers and be absorbed by the skin hair follicles and lungs, which allows the particles to enter the human body.

Preventive Actions

There is a need for careful design and consistent regulation of AM environments, but until this situation is reached, the implementation of preventive actions by the company can reduce the workers’ metal exposure. The most important safety measures are:
Ventilation: The exposure can be considerably reduced by the implementation of good general ventilation which allows for the reduction of particles and fibers in the working environment [114]. It can be further improved by point ventilation placed at strategic emission sources. Furthermore, to protect the outdoor environment, particle/fiber collection filters should be installed.
Protective mask: Machine operators should wear a personal protective mask in the working environment where emission occurs. The mask is considered the most effective personal protective equipment [114].
Machine enclosure: A proper cabinet is required to prevent particles from spreading through the workshop [116].
In addition, Ljunggren et al. presented a gravimetric analysis of the airborne particles generated in AM and concluded that operators should wear exposure markers [113]. Graff et al. reached a similar conclusion and suggested that operators should wear personal protective equipment. Furthermore, they recommended regular urine analysis of the operators to detect possible metal particle inhalation at an early stage [117].

5.2. Treatment of Waste Material

AM provides the possibility to manufacture near-net-shape parts [4] and offers several environmental benefits, such as a reduction in the waste material generated [118], higher energy efficiency, and transportation impact reduction, thanks to the possibility of local manufacturing [86]. Nevertheless, wastes still exist in AM and in some cases, human and machine errors may lead to an increasing amount of residue [119].
Therefore, as a zero-waste process does not exist, in this section the main treatment procedures for the waste material are detailed. According to Article 4 of the “Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on Waste and Repealing Certain Directives” [120], the following procedures, described below, must be applied to the generated waste: (1) prevention, (2) preparing for the reuse, (3) recycling, (4) other recovery (e.g., energy recovery), and (5) disposal.
In the case of AM, waste generation is reduced by increasing the process efficiency, e.g., improving the nozzle efficiency in the DED process or adapting the building chamber geometry to the shape of the built-part in the case of PBF. Once the powder is used and waste is generated, the first choice in order to reduce the environmental impact of the process is the reuse of the powder after a preparing process, which usually consists of a sieving stage.
If the powder is heavily contaminated, it can no longer be reused due to its degradation and it must be recycled, where the powder can be remelted and after the corresponding composition adjustments, reatomized to obtain new powder. However, from the point of view of the AM-process user, this last option corresponds to discarding the powder and therefore, hereafter it will be referred to as disposal.

5.2.1. Reuse

The ecological impact of AM processes highly depends on the material recycle and reuse capability, therefore, practical methods to recycle unused material powder have been investigated [121]. Studies report that over 40% of waste material can be avoided using AM and 95% of unused material can be reused [122], but these statements have not yet been confirmed for all materials.
For PBF-based AM processes such as SLM and EBM, powders can be recycled but only up to a limited degree, since during the AM process powder-composition change has been reported [123]. Nevertheless, results depend on the employed material and recycling conditions. For example, in the case of parts built from reused Ti6Al4V powders, which require a rigorous recycling procedure, the number of reuse cycles had a strong impact on the quality of the final part [123]. Hereafter are detailed the most relevant works related to powder recycling in PBF.
Tang et al. studied the powder reuse issue in PBF and concluded that the affordability of AM parts depends on the recycling capability of the powders and the number of reuses [123]. As global trends, the oxygen content in the powder increases progressively with the number of reuses. Also, the particles became less spherical and satellites began to appear, see Figure 8. Nevertheless, the authors concluded that the reused powder had no effect on the tensile properties or on its behavior.
Similarly, Gorji et al. studied the mechanical properties of the printed parts when new and reused powders were employed [124]. Parts manufactured with powder which was reused over 10 times presented almost no differences with those manufactured with virgin powder; the authors concluded that the powder reuse reduces the metallic powder waste and printing time.
Petrovic et al. studied powder recyclability of EBM-produced Ti6Al4V parts for aerospace applications [126]. The authors concluded that the quality of the final parts was ensured after consecutive buildings employing reused powder. Nevertheless, diametrically opposed results were obtained by Popov et al. for the same material and process. These authors stated that recycling negatively affected the manufactured parts, which presented lower elongation in tensile tests and a higher resulting dispersion [125]. Popov et al. attributed these results to the loss of humidity and temperature control when recycling powder. In addition, a cooling control of the powder must be applied and powder should be cooled down to 80 °C once the manufacturing process is finished to prevent excessive oxidation of the powder in the machine once the door is opened and the protective atmosphere is lost.
Heiden et al. analyzed 13 different AISI 316L powders in their new and reused conditions and studied the properties of the metal particles [127]. They concluded that the multiple usages of the powder had no relevant impact on the resultant mechanical properties, but minor variations were detected in the process. The key properties of the metal particles that influence the AM process, and hence the final part, are detailed in Figure 9.
Working with the same material, AISI 316L stainless steel, Pinto et al. studied the phase transformation changes and their influence on the magnetic behavior of the powder [128]. The authors concluded that an increasing number of reuses affected the uniformity of the powder bed and generated defects such as porosity, delamination, warping, and lack of fusion. Similarly, Sutton et al. studied the effect of the reuse when depositing AISI 304L stainless steel in the PBF process [129]. The powder was reused up to seven times and the authors concluded that as the number of reuses increased, it also changed the oxygen concentration, which increased from 240 ppm in the new powder to nearly 325 ppm after seven reuses. Furthermore, microstructural and morphological changes were also detected.
In recycled powder, particle size distribution shifts slightly towards large diameters due to a reduction of the number of finer particles (<10 μm). Therefore, powder flowability is increased, whereas the packing capability is reduced since there are fewer fine particles to fill the voids between the coarser ones [130]. The authors concluded that the powder aspect ratio and circularity decreased only slightly with reuse, while the surface roughness increased for reused particles; this was a major source of the satellite creation through vapor condensation on unused particles. In addition, the authors noted particle discoloration due to its oxidation. This oxidation process also occurred in the powder that was not melted by the laser beam, due to the heating and cooling cycles that the powder undergoes. This same oxidation process entailed a slight decrease in the powder density when highly reused powder was used but had no influence on the UTS (Ultimate Tensile Strength) and yield strength, which remained almost constant. On the contrary, Maamoun et al. found that for AlSi10Mg there was no difference between the new and recycled powder particle size distribution for SLM [131].
Regarding DED AM processes, powder recycle is a more complex task, as the working environment is not as controlled as in the case of PBF. DED capture efficiencies can be as high as 80% [132], which means that more than 20% of the injected powder does not adhere to the substrate. According to ASTM, the capture efficiency defines the quantity of powder being part of the final part divided by the total amount of powder supplied to produce it. Several studies corresponding to various materials have been published in the last years.
Rousseau et al. studied the effect of the oxygen content in new and reused Ti6Al4V components for the DED process. After 10 runs they concluded that there was no oxygen pickup in the reused powder when compared to the original [133]. The main reason for this behavior of the powder was the argon protective atmosphere under which the tests were carried out, which protected the particles in their most reactive state. Therefore, the protective atmosphere played an important role in powder reuse.
Renderos et al. studied the microstructure on recycled Inconel 718 powder in DED [134] and concluded that powder particles maintained their morphological and chemical properties after crossing through the nozzle. The static mechanical properties of the recycled builds were found to be similar to those of the new powder builds for a limited recycling number (two times). Beyond this value, the breaking strain was found to decrease sharply. In the study, the authors applied a magnetic separation and a mechanical sieving process to rebuild the particle size distribution [135].
Finally, Saboori et al. studied the effect of recycled powder on microstructure and mechanical properties of AISI 316L produced by DED [136]. Parts built using recycled powder presented a 50% lower elongation at breakage, which was attributed to the appearance of Mn and Si oxides as the number of reuses increased (Figure 10).

5.2.2. Waste Disposal

The residues generated during the AM process must be properly treated according to the EU Commission Decision 2000/532/EC [137]. Based on Point 1 in Article 15, “Member States shall take the necessary measures to ensure that any original waste producer or other holder carries out the treatment of waste himself or has the treatment handled by a dealer or an establishment or undertaking which carries out waste treatment operations or arranged by a private or public waste collector in accordance with Articles 4 and 13.” Furthermore, a Member State may consider waste as hazardous when, even though it does not appear as such on the list of waste, it displays one or more of the properties listed in Annex III of the Directive 2008/98/EC [120].
Therefore, despite the common law in the EU, each Member State is responsible for the waste generation. In the case of Spain, this responsibility is transferred to certain regional governments, which is the case of the Basque Autonomous Community. The department of Environment, Spatial Planning, and Housing of the Basque Government defines the necessary requirements of individual agents and transporters, as well as the necessary characteristics of the facilities where the waste treatment operations are carried out, and the operators must be adequately qualified to do so [138].
In the case of DED, due to the size of the particles used, they do not represent a hazard for the transporter, and hence are classified according to their nature and independently of their format (size, shape, etc.). Therefore, AM wastes are treated as inorganic solids. The company that generates the waste must contact the Basque Government to detail their activity and the chemical composition of the generated wastes, so that it can authorize their treatment, as well as indicate the corresponding -List of Waste (LoW) code.
Once the waste has been assigned an LER code, it is the responsibility of the company to contact the corresponding waste manager, which at the same time has to be approved by the Basque Government [139]. Unless otherwise stated, AM powder is classified on the basis of the following nomenclature: 12 01 02—ferrous metal dust and particles, 12 01 04—non-ferrous metal dust and particles. However, if the powder was in contact with oil or coolant (in the case of hybrid machines), the waste is labeled as 12 01 18*—metal sludge (grinding, honing, and lapping sludge), which indicates that it contains oil and must be considered a hazardous substance.

6. Conclusions

AM processes are shown to reduce the environmental impact with regard to traditional processes, mainly due to the more efficient use of raw materials. Nevertheless, for AM to be considered a fully environmentally friendly technology, it is also necessary to make efficient use of energy, to perform adequate management of industrial waste, minimize emissions and toxic materials, and prevent occupational health and safety risks. Furthermore, it must favor the manufacture of repairable, reusable, and recyclable parts. Consequently, after the present review work, it is noticed that although AM is considered an environmentally friendly technology, further studies are required to make a definitive statement and the need to study certain aspects in more detail are identified:
In order to consider the manufacturing impact, it is necessary to analyze the whole AM product supply-chain, from cradle to grave. So, more research work considering design, production, use, and end-of-life is needed.
The prevailing environmental issue is resource consumption, and more specifically energy consumption. But there are other factors that should be considered such as resource use, pollution, impact on human health, and social impact. To assess the sustainability of the AM process and its environmental impact, all these aspects must be considered equally. The weighted quantification of the economic impact of each factor could be a possibility to consider all of them with the same relevance.
Several authors focused their research efforts in studying the behavior of reused powder:
The protective atmosphere plays an important role in powder reuse. The correct design of the protective atmosphere allows the powder-shaped material to maintain its original properties and chemical composition. Therefore, the powder can be reused efficiently in AM.
As a global trend, the oxygen content in the powder increases progressively as the number of reuses increases and the particles become less spherical. Consequently, this influences the powder flowability and the material oxidation in the final part.
Most research states that the UTS and yield strength values of the reused powder do not vary with regard to the new powder. Nevertheless, it is widely accepted that parts manufactured with recycled powder present a more brittle nature. Nonetheless, uneven results were obtained even for the same material and AM process. This means that a proper procedure for evaluating the reusability of the powder in AM is needed to ensure reliable results.
It is important to define a standardized particle recycling procedure. However, opposed conclusions were reached by different authors regarding powder recyclability. Results depended on the process and the employed powder, and therefore, it is not possible to make general statements.
Once that powder cannot be longer reused, it has to be disposed of according to the law in force in each country. This last step is of great importance in minimizing the environmental impact of AM.
The LCA and ecodesign concepts should be applied in the early stages of product development design to improve the viability of end-of-life strategies. In addition to the final price, the quality, production time, and factors such as human health and environmental impact need to be taken into account.

Author Contributions

Conceptualization, J.I.A.; methodology, J.I.A.; investigation, J.I.A., O.U., M.O. and A.M.; writing—original draft, J.I.A. and O.U.; writing—review and editing, M.O. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


This research was funded by the European Union through the H2020-FoF13-2016 PARADDISE project under Grant 723440 and the Basque Government through the ADDISEND project under Grant Elkartek-KK000115.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


  1. Wohlers Associates. Wholers Report 2018: 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing State of the Industry; Wohlers Associates: Fort Collins, CO, USA, 2018. [Google Scholar]
  2. Süss, M. Adding It up: The Economic Impact of Additive Manufacturing; Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR): Singapore, 2018. [Google Scholar]
  3. Bonneau, V.; Yi, H.; Probst, L.; Pedersen, B.; Lonkeu, O.K. The Disruptive Nature of 3D Printing; European Commission: Brussels, Belgium, 2017. [Google Scholar]
  4. Huang, Y.; Leu, M.; Mazumder, J.; Donmez, M. Additive Manufacturing: Current State, Future Potential, Gaps and Needs, and Recommendations. J. Manuf. Sci. Eng. 2015, 137, 14001. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  5. Roca, J.B.; Vaishnav, P.; Mendoza, J.; Morgan, M.G. Getting Past the Hype About 3-D Printing, Although Additive Manufacturing Techniques Hold Great Promise, Near-Term Expectations for Them Are Overoptimistic; MIT: Cambridge, MA, USA, 2017; Volume 58. [Google Scholar]
  6. Jurrens, K. Measurement Science Roadmap for Metal-Based Additive Manufacturing; NIST: Gaithersburg, MD, USA, 2013. [Google Scholar]
  7. Verhoef, L.A.; Budde, B.W.; Chockalingam, C.; García Nodar, B.; van Wijk, A.J.M. The effect of additive manufacturing on global energy demand: An assessment using a bottom-up approach. Energy Policy 2018, 112, 349–360. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  8. Crozet, V. SmarTech Issues New Report on Opportunities for AM in Automotive Production, Sees $5.3 Billion Market in 2023; SmarTech Markets Publishing: Crozet, VA, USA, 2018. [Google Scholar]
  9. European Commission. Support Action for Standardisation in Additive Manufacturing (SASAM); European Commission: Brussels, Belgium, 2014; Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  10. Kitchenham, B. Procedures for Performing Systematic Reviews. Keele Univ. 2004, 33, 1–26. [Google Scholar]
  11. Thorpe, R.; Holt, R. The SAGE Dictionary of Qualitative Management Research; SAGE Publications Ltd: London, UK, 2008. [Google Scholar]
  12. Littel, J.H.; Corcoran, J.; Pilla, V. Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis; Oxford University Press: New York, NY, USA, 2008. [Google Scholar]
  13. Wohlin, C. Guidelines for snowballing in systematic literature studies and a replication in software engineering. In Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Evaluation Assessment in Software Engineering, Berlin, Germany, 30 March 2014; p. 38. [Google Scholar]
  14. ASTM International. ASTM, F2792-12a Standard Terminology for Additive Manufacturing Technologies; ASTM International: West Conshohocken, PA, USA, 2012. [Google Scholar]
  15. Hopkinson, N.; Hague, R.J.M.; Dickens, P.M. Rapid Manufacturing: An Industrial Revolution for the Digital Age; John Wiley & Sons Ltd: Chischester, UK; West Sussex, UK, 2006. [Google Scholar]
  16. Arcam. EBM® Electron Beam Melting—In the forefront of Additive Manufacturing; Arcam: Cambridge, UK, 2019; Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  17. EOS. Systems and Solutions for Metal Additive Manufacturing; EOS: Chengdu, China, 2019; Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  18. Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  19. Castells, R. DMLS vs. SLM 3D Printing for Metal Manufacturing; Element Materials Technology: London, UK, 2016; Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  20. Sandia National Laboratories. Creating a Complex Metal Part in a Day is Goal of Commercial Consortium; Sandia National Laboratories: Livermore, CA, USA, 1997. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  21. Manyika, J.; Chui, M.; Bughin, J. Disruptive Technologies: Advances That Will Transform Life, Business, and the Global Economy; McKinsey & Company: New York, NY, USA, 2013. [Google Scholar]
  22. Toyserkani, E.; Khajepour, A.; Corbin, S. Laser Cladding; CRC Press LLC: Boca Raton, FL, USA, 2005. [Google Scholar]
  23. Thompson, S.M.; Bian, L.; Shamsaei, N.; Yadollahi, A. An overview of Direct Laser Deposition for additive manufacturing; Part I: Transport phenomena, modeling and diagnostics. Addit. Manuf. 2015, 8, 36–62. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  24. Arrizubieta, J.I.; Klocke, F.; Klingbeil, N.; Lamikiz, A.; Martinez, S. Evaluation of efficiency and mechanical properties of Inconel 718 components built by wire and powder laser material deposition. Rapid Prototyp. J. 2017, 23, 965–972. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  25. Gasser, A. Tailored Light 2: Laser Metal Deposition, RWTH Edition; Poprawe, R., Ed.; Springer: New York, NY, USA, 2011. [Google Scholar]
  26. Caiazzo, F. Laser-aided Directed Metal Deposition of Ni-based superalloy powder. Opt. Laser Technol. 2018, 103, 193–198. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  27. Ren, L.; Padathu, A.P.; Ruan, J.; Sparks, T.; Liou, F. Three dimensional die repair using a hybrid manufacturing system. In Proceedings of the 17th Solid Freeform Fabrication Symposium, SFF 2006, Austin, TX, USA, 14–16 August 2006; pp. 14–16. [Google Scholar]
  28. Navas, C.; Conde, A.; Fernández, B.J.; Zubiri, F.; de Damborenea, J. Laser coatings to improve wear resistance of mould steel. Surf. Coat. Technol. 2005, 194, 136–142. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  29. Pinkerton, A.J.; Li, L. Multiple-layer cladding of stainless steel using a high-powered diode laser: An experimental investigation of the process characteristics and material properties. Thin Solid Film 2004, 453–454, 471–476. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  30. Richter, K.-H.; Orban, S.; Nowotny, S. Laser cladding of the titanium alloy TI6242 to restore damaged blades. In Proceedings of the 23rd International Congress on Applications of Lasers & Electro-Optics, San Francisco, CA, USA, 4–7 October 2004; p. 1506. [Google Scholar]
  31. Kong, C.Y.; Scudamore, R.J.; Allen, J. High-rate laser metal deposition of Inconel 718 component using low heat-input approach. Phys. Procedia 2010, 5, 379–386. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  32. Shamsaei, N.; Yadollahi, A.; Bian, L.; Thompson, S.M. An overview of Direct Laser Deposition for additive manufacturing; Part II: Mechanical behavior, process parameter optimization and control. Addit. Manuf. 2015, 8, 12–35. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  33. Lima, D.D.; Mantri, S.A.; Mikler, C.V.; Contieri, R.; Yannetta, C.J.; Campo, K.N.; Lopes, E.S.; Styles, M.J.; Borkar, T.; Caram, R.; et al. Laser additive processing of a functionally graded internal fracture fixation plate. Mater. Des. 2017, 130, 8–15. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  34. Hwang, T.; Woo, Y.Y.; Han, S.W.; Moon, Y.H. Functionally graded properties in directed-energy-deposition titanium parts. Opt. Laser Technol. 2018, 105, 80–88. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  35. Priarone, P.C.; Ingarao, G. Towards criteria for sustainable process selection: On the modelling of pure subtractive versus additive/subtractive integrated manufacturing approaches. J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 144, 57–68. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  36. Allen, J.S. An Investigation into the Comparative Costs of Additive Manufacture vs. Machine from Solid for Aero Engine Parts; Rolls-Royce PLC: Derby, UK, 2006. [Google Scholar]
  37. Caiazzo, F.; Alfieri, V.; Corrado, G.; Argenio, P.; Barbieri, G.; Acerra, F.; Innaro, V. Laser Beam Welding of a Ti–6Al–4V Support Flange for Buy-to-Fly Reduction. Metals 2017, 7, 183. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  38. Exequiel Ruiz, J.; Gonzalez Barrio, H.; Cortina, M.; Arrizubieta Arrate, J.I.; Lamikiz Mentxaka, A. Desarrollo de estrategia y sensorizacion en proceso de LMD para reparacion de geometrias tipo blisk. Rev. Iberoam. Ing. Mec. 2018, 22, 13–18. [Google Scholar]
  39. Abdulrahman, K.O.; Akinlabi, E.T.; Mahamood, R.M. Laser metal deposition technique: Sustainability and environmental impact. Procedia Manuf. 2018, 21, 109–116. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  40. Leino, M.; Pekkarinen, J.; Soukka, R. The Role of Laser Additive Manufacturing Methods of Metals in Repair, Refurbishment and Remanufacturing—Enabling Circular Economy. Phys. Procedia 2016, 83, 752–760. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  41. Kumar, L.J.; Nair, C.G.K. Laser metal deposition repair applications for Inconel 718 alloy. Mater. Today Proc. 2017, 4, 11068–11077. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  42. Wilson, J.M.; Piya, C.; Shin, Y.C.; Zhao, F.; Ramani, K. Remanufacturing of turbine blades by laser direct deposition with its energy and environmental impact analysis. J. Clean. Prod. 2014, 80, 170–178. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  43. Jhavar, S.; Paul, C.P.; Jain, N.K. Causes of failure and repairing options for dies and molds: A review. Eng. Fail. Anal. 2013, 34, 519–535. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  44. Mazumder, J. Laser Assisted Surface Coatings BT—Metallurgical and Ceramic Protective Coatings; Stern, K.H., Ed.; Springer: Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 1996; pp. 74–111. [Google Scholar]
  45. Flynn, J.M.; Shokrani, A.; Newman, S.T.; Dhokia, V. Hybrid additive and subtractive machine tools –Research and industrial developments. Int. J. Mach. Tools Manuf. 2016, 101, 79–101. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  46. Fayazfar, H.; Salarian, M.; Rogalsky, A.; Sarker, D.; Russo, P.; Paserin, V.; Toyserkani, E. A critical review of powder-based additive manufacturing of ferrous alloys: Process parameters, microstructure and mechanical properties. Mater. Des. 2018, 144, 98–128. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  47. Mazumder, J. Laser-aided direct metal deposition of metals and alloys. In Laser Additive Manufacturing; Brandt, M., Ed.; Woodhead Publishing: Cambridge, UK, 2017; pp. 21–53. [Google Scholar]
  48. McAndrew, A.R.; Rosales, M.A.; Colegrove, P.A.; Hönnige, J.R.; Ho, A.; Fayolle, R.; Eyitayo, K.; Stan, I.; Sukrongpang, P.; Crochemore, A.; et al. Interpass rolling of Ti-6Al-4V wire+arc additively manufactured features for microstructural refinement. Addit. Manuf. 2018, 21, 340–349. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  49. Herzog, D.; Seyda, V.; Wycisk, E.; Emmelmann, C. Additive manufacturing of metals. Acta Mater. 2016, 117, 371–392. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  50. Bobbio, L.D.; Qin, S.; Dunbar, A.; Michaleris, P.; Beese, A.M. Characterization of the strength of support structures used in powder bed fusion additive manufacturing of Ti-6Al-4V. Addit. Manuf. 2017, 14, 60–68. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  51. Mueller, B. Additive Manufacturing Technologies—Rapid Prototyping to Direct Digital Manufacturing. Assem Autom 2012, 32. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  52. Wally, Z.J.; Haque, A.M.; Feteira, A.; Claeyssens, F.; Goodall, R.; Reilly, G.C. Selective laser melting processed Ti6Al4V lattices with graded porosities for dental applications. J. Mech. Behav. Biomed. Mater. 2019, 90, 20–29. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  53. Ataee, A.; Li, Y.; Brandt, M.; Wen, C. Ultrahigh-strength titanium gyroid scaffolds manufactured by selective laser melting (SLM) for bone implant applications. Acta Mater. 2018, 158, 354–368. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  54. Liu, R.; Wang, Z.; Sparks, T.; Liou, F.; Newkirk, J. Aerospace applications of laser additive manufacturing. In Laser Additive Manufacturing; Brandt, M., Ed.; Woodhead Publishing: Cambridge, UK, 2017; pp. 351–371. [Google Scholar]
  55. Arrizubieta, J.I. Laser Metal Deposition Enhancement by Holistic Simulation of Powder Mass Flow and Deposition into the Melt Pool. Ph.D. Thesis, University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), Leioa, Spain, 2017. [Google Scholar]
  56. Sciaky Inc. Sciaky EBAM; Sciaky Inc.: Bedford Park, IL, USA, 2019; Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  57. Zhu, H.H.; Lu, L.; Fuh, J.Y.H. Development and characterisation of direct laser sintering Cu-based metal powder. J. Mater. Process. Technol. 2003, 140, 314–317. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  58. Mumtaz, K.; Hopkinson, N. Top surface and side roughness of Inconel 625 Parts processed using selective laser melting. Rapid Prototyp. J. 2009, 15, 96–103. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  59. Mazumder, J.; Dutta, D.; Kikuchi, N.; Ghosh, A. Closed loop direct metal deposition: Art to part. Opt. Lasers Eng. 2000, 34, 397–414. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  60. Milewski, J.O.; Lewis, G.K.; Thoma, D.J.; Keel, G.I.; Nemec, R.B.; Reinert, R.A. Directed light fabrication of a solid metal hemisphere using 5-axis powder deposition. J. Mater. Process. Technol. 1998, 75, 165–172. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  61. Oerlikon Metco. Inconel 718 Datasheet. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  62. Oerlikon Metco. Stellite 6 Datasheet. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  63. Carpenter Additive. Ti6Al4V Datasheet. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  64. Eramet. Pearl®Micro 316L. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  65. FST. Laser Cladding Powders. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  66. Oerlikon Metco. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  67. Carpenter Additive. Carpenter Technology Corporation. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  68. FST. Flame Spray Technologies. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  69. Eramet. Auvert&Duval. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  70. ECHA. European Chemicals Agency. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  71. Instituto Nacional de Seguridad y Salud en el Trabajo (INSST). O.A., M.P. Límites de Exposición Profesional Para Agentes Químicos En España. 2019. Available online:ímites+de+exposición+profesional+para+agentes+químicos+2019/7b0b9079-d6b5-4a66-9fac-5ebf4e4d83d1 (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  72. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. OSHA Occupational Chemical Database. United Stated Department of Labor. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  73. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards. 2007. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  74. ECHA. Guidance on the Application of the CLP Criteria. 2017. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  75. Salonitis, K.; Ball, P. Energy Efficient Manufacturing from Machine Tools to Manufacturing Systems. Procedia CIRP 2013, 7, 634–639. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  76. He, Q.; Silliman, B.R. Climate Change, Human Impacts, and Coastal Ecosystems in the Anthropocene. Curr. Biol. 2019, 29, R1021–R1035. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  77. Le Bourhis, F.; Kerbrat, O.; Hascoet, J.Y.; Mognol, P. Sustainable manufacturing: Evaluation and modeling of environmental impacts in additive manufacturing. Int. J. Adv. Manuf. Technol. 2013, 69, 1927–1939. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  78. Finnveden, G.; Hauschild, M.Z.; Ekvall, T.; Guinée, J.; Heijungs, R.; Hellweg, S.; Koehler, A.; Pennington, D.; Suh, S. Recent developments in Life Cycle Assessment. J. Environ. Manag. 2009, 91, 1–21. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  79. Peng, T.; Kellens, K.; Tang, R.; Chen, C.; Chen, G. Sustainability of additive manufacturing: An overview on its energy demand and environmental impact. Addit. Manuf. 2018, 21, 694–704. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  80. Laurin, L. Overview of LCA—History, Concept, and Methodology. In Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2017. [Google Scholar]
  81. Fratila, D.; Rotaru, H. Additive manufacturing—A sustainable manufacturing route. MATEC Web Conf. 2017, 94. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  82. Kafara, M.; Süchting, M.; Kemnitzer, J.; Westermann, H.; Steinhilper, R. Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Conventional and Additive Manufacturing in Mold Core Making for CFRP Production. Procedia Manuf. 2017, 8, 223–230. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  83. Stavropoulos, P.; Giannoulis, C.; Papacharalampopoulos, A. Life cycle analysis: Comparison between different methods and optimization challenges. Procedia CIRP 2016, 41, 626–631. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  84. Salieri, B.; Turner, D.A.; Nowack, B.; Hischier, R. Life cycle assessment of manufactured nanomaterials: Where are we? NanoImpact 2018, 10, 108–120. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  85. Baumers, M.; Duflou, J.R.; Flanagan, W.; Gutowski, T.G.; Kellens, K.; Lifset, R. Charting the Environmental Dimensions of Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing. J. Ind. Ecol. 2017, 21, S9–S14. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  86. Rejeski, D.; Zhao, F.; Huang, Y. Research needs and recommendations on environmental implications of additive manufacturing. Addit. Manuf. 2018, 19, 21–28. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  87. Mellor, S.; Hao, L.; Zhang, D. Additive manufacturing: A framework for implementation. Int. J. Prod. Econ. 2014, 149, 194–201. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  88. Saade, M.R.M.; Yahia, A.; Amor, B. How has LCA been applied to 3D printing? A systematic literature review and recommendations for future studies. J. Clean. Prod. 2020, 244, 118803. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  89. Machado, C.G.; Despeisse, M.; Winroth, M.; Ribeiro da Silva, E.H.D. Additive manufacturing from the sustainability perspective: Proposal for a self-assessment tool. Procedia CIRP 2019, 81, 482–487. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  90. Niaki, M.K.; Torabi, S.A.; Nonino, F. Why manufacturers adopt additive manufacturing technologies: The role of sustainability. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 222, 381–392. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  91. Ma, J.; Harstvedt, J.D.; Dunaway, D.; Bian, L.; Jaradat, R. An exploratory investigation of Additively Manufactured Product life cycle sustainability assessment. J. Clean. Prod. 2018, 192, 55–70. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  92. Baumers, M.; Tuck, C.; Bourell, D.L.; Sreenivasan, R.; Hague, R. Sustainability of additive manufacturing: Measuring the energy consumption of the laser sintering process. Proc. Inst. Mech. Eng. B J. Eng. Manuf. 2011, 225, 2228–2239. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  93. Baumers, M.; Tuck, C.; Wildman, R.; Ashcroft, I.; Hague, R. Shape Complexity and Process Energy Consumption in Electron Beam Melting: A Case of Something for Nothing in Additive Manufacturing? J. Ind. Ecol. 2017, 21, S157–S167. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  94. Jackson, M.A.; Van Asten, A.; Morrow, J.D.; Min, S.; Pfefferkorn, F.E. Energy Consumption Model for Additive-Subtractive Manufacturing Processes with Case Study. Int. J. Precis. Eng. Manuf. Green Technol. 2018, 5, 459–466. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  95. Nagarajan, H.P.N.; Haapala, K.R. Characterizing the influence of resource-energy-exergy factors on the environmental performance of additive manufacturing systems. J. Manuf. Syst. 2018, 48, 87–96. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  96. Goedkoop, M.; Heijungs, R.; Huijbregts, M.; De Schryver, A.; Struijs, J.; Van Zelm, R. ReCiPe 2008. In A Life Cycle Impact Assess Method which Comprises Harmon Categ Indic Midpoint Endpoint Lev; Ruimte en Milieu: Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, 2009; Volume 1, pp. 1–126. [Google Scholar]
  97. Minetola, P.; Eyers, D. Energy and Cost Assessment of 3D Printed Mobile Case Covers. Procedia CIRP 2018, 69, 130–135. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  98. Drizo, A.; Pegna, J. Environmental impacts of rapid prototyping: An overview of research to date. Rapid Prototyp. J. 2006, 12, 64–71. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  99. Bours, J.; Adzima, B.; Gladwin, S.; Cabral, J.; Mau, S. Addressing Hazardous Implications of Additive Manufacturing: Complementing Life Cycle Assessment with a Framework for Evaluating Direct Human Health and Environmental Impacts. J. Ind. Ecol. 2017, 21, S25–S36. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  100. Yang, Y.; Li, L. Total volatile organic compound emission evaluation and control for stereolithography additive manufacturing process. J. Clean. Prod. 2018, 170, 1268–1278. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  101. Faludi, J.; Bayley, C.; Bhogal, S.; Iribarne, M. Comparing Environmental Impacts of Additive Manufacturing vs. Traditional Machining via Life-Cycle Assessment Introduction. Rapid Prototyp. J. 2015, 21, 14–33. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  102. Gao, W.; Li, T.; Tang, Z.; Peng, S.; Zhang, H.C. Investigation on the Comparative Life Cycle Assessment between Newly Manufacturing and Remanufacturing Turbochargers. Procedia CIRP 2017, 61, 750–755. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  103. Böckin, D.; Tillman, A.M. Environmental assessment of additive manufacturing in the automotive industry. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 226, 977–987. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  104. Gebler, M.; Schoot Uiterkamp, A.J.M.; Visser, C. A global sustainability perspective on 3D printing technologies. Energy Policy 2014, 74, 158–167. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  105. Huang, S.H.; Liu, P.; Mokasdar, A.; Hou, L. Additive manufacturing and its societal impact: A literature review. Int. J. Adv. Manuf. Technol. 2013, 67, 1191–1203. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  106. Wits, W.W.; García, J.R.R.; Becker, J.M.J. How Additive Manufacturing Enables more Sustainable End-user Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Strategies. Procedia CIRP 2016, 40, 693–698. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  107. Pigosso, D.C.A.; Zanette, E.T.; Filho, A.G.; Ometto, A.R.; Rozenfeld, H. Ecodesign methods focused on remanufacturing. J. Clean. Prod. 2010, 18, 21–31. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  108. Lahrour, Y.; Brissaud, D. A Technical Assessment of Product/Component Re-manufacturability for Additive Remanufacturing. Procedia CIRP 2018, 69, 142–147. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  109. Ünal, E.; Shao, J. A taxonomy of circular economy implementation strategies for manufacturing firms: Analysis of 391 cradle-to-cradle products. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 212, 754–765. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  110. Despeisse, M.; Baumers, M.; Brown, P.; Charnley, F.; Ford, S.J.; Garmulewicz, A.; Knowles, S.; Minshall, T.H.W.; Mortara, L.; Reed-Tsochas, F.P.; et al. Unlocking value for a circular economy through 3D printing: A research agenda. Technol. Forecast Soc. Chang. 2017, 115, 75–84. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  111. Kravchenko, M.; Pigosso, D.C.; McAloone, T.C. Towards the ex-ante sustainability screening of circular economy initiatives in manufacturing companies: Consolidation of leading sustainability-related performance indicators. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 241, 118318. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  112. Sauerwein, M.; Doubrovski, E.; Balkenende, R.; Bakker, C. Exploring the potential of additive manufacturing for product design in a circular economy. J. Clean. Prod. 2019, 226, 1138–1149. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  113. Ljunggren, S.A.; Karlsson, H.; Ståhlbom, B.; Krapi, B.; Fornander, L.; Karlsson, L.E.; Bergström, B.; Nordenberg, E.; Ervik, T.K.; Graff, P. Biomonitoring of Metal Exposure During Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing). Saf. Health Work 2019, 10, 518–526. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  114. Mellin, P.; Jönsson, C.; Åkermo, M.; Fernberg, P.; Nordenberg, E.; Brodin, H.; Strondl, A. Nano-sized by-products from metal 3D printing, composite manufacturing and fabric production. J. Clean. Prod. 2016, 139, 1224–1233. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  115. Rehfisch, P.; Anderson, M.; Berg, P.; Lampa, E.; Nordling, Y.; Svartengren, M.; Westberg, H.; Gunnarsson, L.G. Lung function and respiratory symptoms in hard metal workers exposed to cobalt. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 2012, 54, 409–413. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  116. Afshar-Mohajer, N.; Wu, C.Y.; Ladun, T.; Rajon, D.A.; Huang, Y. Characterization of particulate matters and total VOC emissions from a binder jetting 3D printer. Build Environ. 2015, 93, 293–301. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  117. Graff, P.; Ståhlbom, B.; Nordenberg, E.; Graichen, A.; Johansson, P.; Karlsson, H. Evaluating Measuring Techniques for Occupational Exposure during Additive Manufacturing of Metals: A Pilot Study. J. Ind. Ecol. 2017, 21, S120–S129. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  118. Chen, D.; Heyer, S.; Ibbotson, S.; Salonitis, K.; Steingrímsson, J.G.; Thiede, S. Direct digital manufacturing: Definition, evolution, and sustainability implications. J. Clean. Prod. 2015, 107, 615–625. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  119. Song, R.; Telenko, C. Material and energy loss due to human and machine error in commercial FDM printers. J. Clean. Prod. 2017, 148, 895–904. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  120. EU Commission. Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 19 November 2008 on Waste and Repealing Certain Directives. 2015. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  121. Dotchev, K. Recycling of polyamide 12 based powders in the laser sintering process. Rapid Prototyp. J. 2009, 15, 192. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  122. Petrovic, V.; Vicente Haro Gonzalez, J.; Jordá Ferrando, O.; Delgado Gordillo, J.; Ramón Blasco Puchades, J.; Portolés Griñan, L. Additive layered manufacturing: Sectors of industrial application shown through case studies. Int. J. Prod. Res. 2011, 49, 1061–1079. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  123. Tang, H.P.; Qian, M.; Liu, N.; Zhang, X.Z.; Yang, G.Y.; Wang, J. Effect of Powder Reuse Times on Additive Manufacturing of Ti-6Al-4V by Selective Electron Beam Melting. JOM 2015, 67, 555–563. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  124. Gorji, N.E.; O’Connor, R.; Mussatto, A.; Snelgrove, M.; González, P.G.M.; Brabazon, D. Recyclability of stainless steel (316L) powder within the additive manufacturing process. Materialia 2019, 8, 100489. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  125. Popov, V.V.; Katz-Demyanetz, A.; Garkun, A.; Bamberger, M. The effect of powder recycling on the mechanical properties and microstructure of electron beam melted Ti-6Al-4V specimens. Addit. Manuf. 2018, 22, 834–843. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  126. Vojislav, P. Powder recyclability in electron beam melting for aeronautical use. Aircr. Eng. Aerosp. Technol. 2015, 87, 147–155. [Google Scholar]
  127. Heiden, M.J.; Deibler, L.A.; Rodelas, J.M.; Koepke, J.R.; Tung, D.J.; Saiz, D.J.; Jared, B.H. Evolution of 316L stainless steel feedstock due to laser powder bed fusion process. Addit. Manuf. 2019, 25, 84–103. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  128. Pinto, F.C.; Souza Filho, I.R.; Sandim, M.J.R.; Sandim, H.R.Z. Defects in parts manufactured by selective laser melting caused by δ-ferrite in reused 316L steel powder feedstock. Addit. Manuf. 2020, 31, 100979. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  129. Sutton, A.T.; Kriewall, C.S.; Karnati, S.; Leu, M.C.; Newkirk, J.W. Characterization of AISI 304L stainless steel powder recycled in the laser powder-bed fusion process. Addit. Manuf. 2020, 32, 100981. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  130. Clayton, J. Optimising metal powders for additive manufacturing. Met. Powder Rep. 2014, 69, 14–17. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  131. Maamoun, A.H.; Elbestawi, M.; Dosbaeva, G.K.; Veldhuis, S.C. Thermal post-processing of AlSi10Mg parts produced by Selective Laser Melting using recycled powder. Addit. Manuf. 2018, 21, 234–247. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  132. ASTM International. ASTM F3187-16, Standard Guide for Directed Energy Deposition of Metals; ASTM International: West Conshohocken, PA, USA, 2017. [Google Scholar]
  133. Rousseau, J.N.; Bois-Brochu, A.; Blais, C. Effect of oxygen content in new and reused powder on microstructural and mechanical properties of Ti6Al4V parts produced by directed energy deposition. Addit. Manuf. 2018, 23, 197–205. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  134. Renderos, M.; Torregaray, A.; Gutierrez-Orrantia, M.E.; Lamikiz, A.; Saintier, N.; Girot, F. Microstructure characterization of recycled IN718 powder and resulting laser clad material. Mater. Charact. 2017, 134, 103–113. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  135. Renderos, M.; Girot, F.; Lamikiz, A.; Torregaray, A.; Saintier, N. Ni based powder reconditioning and reuse for LMD process. Phys. Procedia 2016, 83, 769–777. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef][Green Version]
  136. Saboori, A.; Aversa, A.; Bosio, F.; Bassini, E.; Librera, E.; De Chirico, M.; Biamino, S.; Ugues, D.; Fino, P.; Lombardi, M. An investigation on the effect of powder recycling on the microstructure and mechanical properties of AISI 316L produced by Directed Energy Deposition. Mater. Sci. Eng. A 2019, 766, 138360. [Google Scholar] [CrossRef]
  137. EU Commission. EU Commission Decision 2000/532/EC. 2015. Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  138. Gobierno Vasco/Eusko Jaurlaritza. Gestión de Los Residuos; Gobierno Vasco/Eusko Jaurlaritza: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 2018; Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
  139. Gobierno Vasco/Eusko Jaurlaritza. Operadores de Instalaciones de Tratamiento de Residuos; Gobierno Vasco/Eusko Jaurlaritza: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 2018; Available online: (accessed on 7 February 2020).
Figure 1. Flow chart for Systematic Literature Review (SLR) (Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)).
Figure 1. Flow chart for Systematic Literature Review (SLR) (Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)).
Metals 10 00261 g001
Figure 2. Basis of the LMD process.
Figure 2. Basis of the LMD process.
Metals 10 00261 g002
Figure 3. Basis of the PBF processes.
Figure 3. Basis of the PBF processes.
Metals 10 00261 g003
Figure 4. (a) AISI 316L powder and container with the hazard details, (b) AISI 316L.
Figure 4. (a) AISI 316L powder and container with the hazard details, (b) AISI 316L.
Metals 10 00261 g004
Figure 5. A life cycle perspective on metal AM and Subtractive Manufacturing (SM).
Figure 5. A life cycle perspective on metal AM and Subtractive Manufacturing (SM).
Metals 10 00261 g005
Figure 6. Aspects to consider in the environmental impact of AM.
Figure 6. Aspects to consider in the environmental impact of AM.
Metals 10 00261 g006
Figure 7. Material product life cycle in AM. Adapted from [107].
Figure 7. Material product life cycle in AM. Adapted from [107].
Metals 10 00261 g007
Figure 8. SEM images of (a) new Ti6Al4V powder, (b) strongly reused Ti6Al4V powder after the 69th cycle [125].
Figure 8. SEM images of (a) new Ti6Al4V powder, (b) strongly reused Ti6Al4V powder after the 69th cycle [125].
Metals 10 00261 g008
Figure 9. Classification of key metal particle properties that may influence AM part formation quality. Adapted from [127].
Figure 9. Classification of key metal particle properties that may influence AM part formation quality. Adapted from [127].
Metals 10 00261 g009
Figure 10. Stress-strain curves of AISI 316L produced by DED using fresh and recycled powders [136].
Figure 10. Stress-strain curves of AISI 316L produced by DED using fresh and recycled powders [136].
Metals 10 00261 g010
Table 1. Keyword strings used in the SLR and the corresponding number of matches.
Table 1. Keyword strings used in the SLR and the corresponding number of matches.
Keyword stringsScience DirectScopusUsed for
Laser Metal + AM792811Introduction
Metal AM + LCA1719Sustainability study
Metal AM + Sustainability3420Sustainability study
AM + Recycle238Handling of powder
AM + Reuse3735Handling of powder
Metal AM + Hazard25Handling of powder
Table 2. Overview of the metal AM processes [21].
Table 2. Overview of the metal AM processes [21].
AM Process TypeBrief DescriptionTechnologies
Powder Bed Fusion (PBF)Thermal energy selectively fuses regions of a powder bedElectron Beam Melting (EBM)
Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS)
Selective Laser Melting (SLM)
Directed Energy Deposition (DED)Focused thermal energy is used to fuse material by melting as it is being depositedFused Metal Deposition Systems (FMD)
Laser Metal Deposition (LMD)
Selective Laser Cladding (SLC)
Table 3. Overview of the metal additive manufacturing processes.
Table 3. Overview of the metal additive manufacturing processes.
AM Process TypePowder Particle Size (µm)Deposition Rate (g/min)Dimensional Accuracy (µm)Surface Roughness (µm)References
Powder Bed Fusion (PBF)45–1502–3±0.059–16[55,56,57,58]
Direct Energy Deposition (DED)10–305–30±0.13≈40[55,56,59,60]
Table 4. Studied metal powders and their main applications [61,62,63,64,65].
Table 4. Studied metal powders and their main applications [61,62,63,64,65].
MaterialMain CharacteristicsMain Application
Inconel 718
  • Excellent corrosion resistance in a wide range of environments.
  • High-temperature oxidation resistance.
  • Resistance to stress corrosion cracking.
  • Good wear resistance and high ductility.
Turbine blades, heavy industry, etc.
Titanium Ti6Al4V
  • High strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Excellent corrosion resistance.
Aerospace industry and biomechanical applications (implants and prostheses)
  • Good resistance to abrasion at both low and high temperatures.
  • High level of toughness and ductility.
  • Good high-temperature strength and resistance to thermal fatigue.
Injection molds, wear-resisting parts, hot stamping dies, etc.
  • Resistant to corrosion, pitting and intercrystalline corrosion up to temperatures of 400 °C.
  • Scale resistant up to 800 °C.
Corrosion-resistant applications, naval industry, intermediate soft layers, etc.
Stellite 6
  • Excellent resistance to chemical corrosion and mechanical wear over a wide temperature range.
  • Good resistance to impact and cavitation.
  • Keeps hardness up to 500 °C.
Crankshaft, bearing tracks, stamping dies, extrusion screws, etc.
Table 5. Powder provider, composition, and hazard classification.
Table 5. Powder provider, composition, and hazard classification.
MaterialManufacturerMain Composition (wt.%)Classification
Inconel 718Oerlikon Metco [66]Ni: 53, Cr: 20, Fe: 17.4, Nb: 5.1, Mo: 3.1, Ti: 0.9, Al: 0.5H317
Titanium Ti6Al4VLPW Technology [67]Ti: 89.09, Al: 6.4, V: 3.9, Fe: 0.22, O: 0.07, C: 0.01H315
AISI H13FST [68]Fe: 90.41, Cr: 5.12, Mo: 1.33, V: 1.13, Si: 0.8, C: 0.41, Mn: 0.5H317
AISI 316LEramet [69]Fe: 67.5, Cr: 18.2, Ni: 11.8, Mo: 2.3, Si: 0.34, C: 0.03, Mn: 0.08H317
Stellite 6Oerlikon Metco [66]Co: 60.4, Cr: 28.5, W: 4.5, Si: 1.5, Fe: 1.5, C: 1, Mo: 1H319
Table 6. Classification and limit exposure values of different metal elements.
Table 6. Classification and limit exposure values of different metal elements.
MaterialCAS NumberEC NumberClassification [70]Limit Values According to Spanish Law 1/2014
ELV-DE [71]
8 h Exposure Control TWA in mg/m3
1 mg/m3 in 8 h10 [73]
3 mg/m3 in 8 h (breathing)0.05 mg V2O5
Chromium7440-02-0231-157-5H3502 mg/m3 in 8 h0.5
1 mg/m3 in 8 h1
3 mg/m3 in 8 h (breathing)10
10 mg/m3 in 15 min
5 mg/m3 in 8 h
3 mg/m3
Table 7. Hazard statement corresponding to the classification code and category [74].
Table 7. Hazard statement corresponding to the classification code and category [74].
CodeClassification (Category)Hazard Statement
H2281Flammable solid
H2522Self-heating in large quantities; may catch fire
H2612In contact with water releases flammable gases
H3152Causes skin irritation
H3171Warning: May cause an allergic skin reaction
H3192Causes serious eye irritation
H3324Harmful if inhaled
H3341May cause allergy or asthma symptoms or breathing difficulties if inhaled
H3401May cause genetic defects
H3412Suspected of causing genetic defects
H3501May cause cancer
H350i1May cause cancer by inhalation
H3512Suspected of causing cancer
H3612Suspected of damaging fertility or the unborn child
H361f2Suspected of damaging fertility
H3721Causes damage to organs (state all organs affected, if known) through prolonged or repeated exposure (state route of exposure if it is conclusively proven that no other routes of exposure cause the hazard)
H400Aquatic Acute 1Very toxic to aquatic life
H410Aquatic Chronic 1Very toxic to aquatic life with long-lasting effects
H412Aquatic Chronic 3Harmful to aquatic life with long-lasting effects

Share and Cite

MDPI and ACS Style

Arrizubieta, J.I.; Ukar, O.; Ostolaza, M.; Mugica, A. Study of the Environmental Implications of Using Metal Powder in Additive Manufacturing and Its Handling. Metals 2020, 10, 261.

AMA Style

Arrizubieta JI, Ukar O, Ostolaza M, Mugica A. Study of the Environmental Implications of Using Metal Powder in Additive Manufacturing and Its Handling. Metals. 2020; 10(2):261.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Arrizubieta, Jon Iñaki, Olatz Ukar, Marta Ostolaza, and Arantza Mugica. 2020. "Study of the Environmental Implications of Using Metal Powder in Additive Manufacturing and Its Handling" Metals 10, no. 2: 261.

Note that from the first issue of 2016, this journal uses article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Metrics

Back to TopTop