Local and recyclable materials for additive manufacturing: 3D printing with mussel shells

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21 Citations (Scopus)


The potential of additive manufacturing (AM) for distributed production is often mentioned as an enabler for sustainable manufacturing within a circular economy. Currently, even if manufacturing with AM is distributed, the used materials can rarely be acquired locally and are usually obtained from a centralized location. Addressing this issue, we are developing an approach that supports the search for local materials that are suitable as material input for AM and are recyclable to serve multiple product lifecycles. The approach is an iterative process consisting of four phases; “material in AM context”, “recycling opportunities”, “material property testing”, and “application possibilities”. As an initial example, we present a process to adapt mussel shell waste into AM material. Mussel shells are a voluminous waste stream in the Netherlands. The shells, which mainly exist of calcium carbonate, are ground into a powder and combined with sugar water. Using a modified material extrusion process, 3D objects are created. In this paper, we discuss the iterations through our approach and illustrate the initial 3D printed results. With this project, we intend to demonstrate the potential of using local waste streams for AM processes for a circular economy. This is a first step towards the development of a methodology for linking local material streams to novel AM processes and meaningful applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-217
Number of pages4
JournalMaterials Today Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Circular economy
  • Local materials
  • Recycling


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