Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Fu Zhao

Committee Member 1

Carol Handwerker

Committee Member 2

Liang Pan


3D Printing has been heralded as a revolutionary technology that can change manufacturing and design in the foreseeable future. One of the most popular forms of 3D printing is fused deposition modeling (FDM) where plastic filament is heated to a temperature where it is softened enough to be extruded to build a part, layer by layer. This technique is found in most commercial desktop 3D printers today. Despite the great potential that 3D printing possesses, research studies have shown that ultrafine particles are being generated during the printing process on the order of 1.0 - 1.5 x 105 #/cm3. These ultrafine particles pose a health risk to owners and operators of 3D printers because their small size, less than 100 nm, allows them to penetrate deep within the lungs’ airways. Adding to the potential risk, it is not yet fully understood what the chemical composition of these particles is or how exactly they are being formed during printing.