AbstractThe mass concentrations of 232Th and 238U in several 3D printing filaments and printed polymer parts are reported as measures of their radiopurity. In order to minimize background signals in rare event physics detectors, radiopure polymers are necessary as dielectric and structural materials in their construction. New data are reported for polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), polyphenylene sulfide (PPS), and two forms of polyetherimide (PEI, branded ULTEM 1010 and 9085). Data for starting filaments and both simple and complex printed parts are reported. PVDF filaments and simple printed beads, were found to have values of approximately 30 and 50 pg g-1 for 232Th and 238U, respectively, while a more complex spring clip part had slightly elevated 232Th levels of 65 pg g-1, with 238U remaining at 50 pg g-1. PPS filament was found to have concentrations of 270 and 710 pg g-1 for 232Th and 238U, respectively, and were not chosen to be printed as those levels were already higher than other material options. ULTEM 1010 filaments and printed complex spring clip parts were found to have concentrations of around 5 and 7 pg g-1 for 232Th and 238U, respectively, illustrating no significant contamination from the printing process. ULTEM 9085 filaments were found to have concentrations of around 9 and 5 pg g-1 for 232Th and 238U, respectively, while the printed complex spring clip part was found to have slightly elevated concentrations of 25 and 7 pg g-1 for 232Th and 238U, respectively. These results were all obtained using a novel dry ashing method in crucibles constructed of ultralow background electroformed copper or, when applicable, microwave assisted wet ashing digestion. Samples and process blanks were spiked with 229Th and 233U as internal standards prior to dry/wet ashing and determinations were made by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). In order to maintain high radiopurity levels, pre-cleaning the filaments before printing and post-cleaning the parts is recommended, although the printing process itself has shown to contribute very minute amounts of radiocontaminants.
Published: April 5, 2023