Date of Thesis

Spring 2021


Airborne particulate matter poses several health hazards ranging from pulmonary inflammation to cardiovascular disease. Particulate matter is produced through many fabrication processes common to makerspaces, such as 3D printing and laser cutting. The danger of these particles is worsened when makerspaces are retrofitted into spaces not designed with good ventilation or safety controls, such as libraries and public schools. This thesis evaluates the relationship between makerspaces and hazardous particle generation with both continuous and motion sensor controlled ventilation, showing that the latter creates unsafe working conditions. Both observational and controlled studies were conducted in Bucknell’s Mooney Lab makerspace monitoring particle concentration and size distributions. A model was created based upon this data to help predict particle concentration and removal rates under a wider range of conditions than studied here. Continuous ventilation reduced peak particle concentrations to a third of motion sensor controlled ventilation levels and brought concentrations back near baseline levels 3.5 times faster. Based upon the findings of this study, makerspaces should not be established in any location without a properly sized ventilation system or to run ventilation systems in any configuration other than continuous flow.


Particulate Matter, Air Quality, Makerspaces, Occupational Health, Airborne Particles, Ventilation

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering

Minor, Emphasis, or Concentration


First Advisor

Dr. Dabrina Dutcher

Second Advisor

Dr. Tim Raymond