New Research Indicates Possibility of Non-Hazardous Resin, Ensuring a Safer Path to 3D Printing.

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A New Path to Safe and Non-Toxic 3D Printer Resin

3D printing has revolutionized the manufacturing industry, allowing for the creation of complex and intricate designs with ease. However, the materials used in 3D printing, particularly the resin, have raised concerns due to their toxicity. Resin contains photoinitiators, chemicals that trigger the polymerization process when exposed to UV light. This process creates rigid plastics known as thermosets, which cannot be melted and reformed like thermoplastics.

The issue lies in the fact that these photoinitiators are toxic chemicals. Prolonged exposure to them can lead to severe reactions in the human body. While some resins have lower amounts of toxic elements, none can be considered completely safe for use.

But there is hope on the horizon. Recent research has uncovered a new method that may lead to the development of a truly safe and non-toxic 3D printer resin. The researchers set out to find a way to produce polycarbonate, a commonly used material in 3D printing, without the use of the highly toxic chemical Phosgene.

Phosgene gas, which was responsible for the deaths of thousands of soldiers in World War I, is used in the conventional production of polycarbonate. The researchers developed a novel photo-on-demand in situ phosgenation reaction using a solution of chloroform and aqueous NaOH containing an aryl alcohol or amine.

By irradiating the solution with UV light, they were able to generate phosgene temporarily, thus enabling the desired chemical transformation. While this process is not a 3D printing technique itself, it demonstrates that the chemical reaction can occur under specific conditions.

The researchers noted that using selective UV light could potentially allow for the formation of polycarbonate in certain regions, paving the way for a new style of 3D printing. This selective approach, combined with the ability to synthesize other types of plastics using the same method, holds great promise for the future of resin-based 3D printing.

Though still in its early stages, this discovery has the potential to revolutionize the industry by providing a truly safe and non-toxic alternative to current 3D printer resins. Further investigation and development are needed, but the implications of this research are exciting.

As advancements in 3D printing continue to push boundaries, prioritizing safety and minimizing environmental impact should remain at the forefront. The pursuit of a safe and non-toxic 3D printer resin is not only necessary for the well-being of users but also for the wider adoption and acceptance of this groundbreaking technology.

Source: ACS

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