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Thursday, May 16 • 3:30pm - 4:00pm
06. Chemical Stability of 3D Printed Materials

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This poster describes a research project which tested the propensity of off-gassing and acid production within 3D printed materials. These materials are quickly making their way into conservation and it is vital that their chemical stability is fully investigated and understood. This testing was undertaken with the intention of determining the material’s suitability for the fabrication of supports for historical artifacts within exhibition cases. Materials which produce acids or corrosive vapors, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), are considered unsuitable for this purpose. Therefore, materials typically undergo a series of tests to determine their stability, such as Oddy testing. Three types of 3D printed materials were chosen for their potential suitability, ease of access and use, and/or common availability. Polylactic acid (PLA), Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), and 3D printed paper were each tested via the Oddy test, Acid-Detection strips, and aqueous pH testing. Of the samples tested, PLA failed the Oddy test, showed acidic atmospheric vapors when exposed to A-D test strips, and had a significant change in pH values after Oddy testing. ABS received a rating of suitable for temporary use in the Oddy test, did not react to A-D test strips, but showed a surface pH of 4.5 before Oddy testing, making it unsuitable for direct contact with many museum objects. The paper samples failed the Oddy test, but showed no reaction to A-D strips and maintained a neutral pH reading before and after testing; it has also been deemed unsuitable. Although none of these samples should be used in museum exhibitions, additional investigation is underway to ascertain how other brands and types of polymers react to these tests and can be utilized by Conservators.

avatar for James Davis

James Davis

Director of Conservation, Charleston Library Society
I am a conservator of books and archival documents. I graduated from West Dean College in 2018 and am currently residing/working in Charleston, SC. When not preserving books enjoy camping, hiking, and any water based activity. I am also an avid reader and dungeon master.

Thursday May 16, 2019 3:30pm - 4:00pm EDT
Uncas Ballroom Foyer Sky Convention Center, Mohegan Sun