Framework for life cycle sustainability assessment of additive manufacturing

Inês Ribeiro, Florinda Matos, Celeste Jacinto, Hafiz Salman, Gonçalo Cardeal, Helena Carvalho, Radu Godina, Paulo Peças

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)
100 Downloads (Pure)


Additive manufacturing (AM) is a group of technologies that create objects by adding material layer upon layer, in precise geometric shapes. They are amongst the most disruptive technologies nowadays, potentially changing value chains from the design process to the end-of-life, providing significant advantages over traditional manufacturing processes in terms of flexibility in design and production and waste minimization. Nevertheless, sustainability assessment should also be included in the research agenda as these technologies affect the People, the Planet and the Profit: the three-bottom line (3BL) assessment framework. Moreover, AM sustainability depends on each product and context that strengthens the need for its assessment through the 3BL framework. This paper explores the literature on AM sustainability, and the results are mapped in a framework aiming to support comprehensive assessments of the AM impacts in the 3BL dimensions by companies and researchers. To sustain the coherence of boundaries, three life cycle methods are proposed, each one for a specific dimension of the 3BL analysis, and two illustrative case studies are shown to exemplify the model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number929
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2020


  • Additive manufacturing
  • Economic
  • Environmental
  • Framework
  • Social
  • Sustainability assessment


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