Video: UAE researchers design reusable 3D-printed mask that meets N95 requirements
A team of researchers at Khalifa University of Science and Technology has designed a reusable 3D-printed mask as a potential replacement for standard N95 masks that are in short supply amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The university’s Aerospace Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC) said on Monday that the team is currently developing various aspects of the design. They are taking into consideration requirements, including filtration performance, geometry/fit, flexibility, material suitability for medical applications, and manufacturability. Medically graded materials were used in the manufacture of the components.
A prototype has already been printed and an assessment will be performed before it is approved.
The N95 respirators and surgical masks (face masks) are personal protective equipment (PPE) that protects the wearer from airborne particles and liquid contaminating the face. They are critical supplies for healthcare workers and other medical first responders.
In a video shared by the university, a researcher said the mask meets the “stringent requirements” of N95 masks. “The mask’s effectiveness is reliant on its fit around the user’s face.
“Most 3D-printed masks are made of hard plastic, which lacks the sealant around the nose and mouth and allows droplets to be released. We have designed a mask that incorporates different materials, flexible and hard, that can seal around the nose and mouth properly without any gaps. The modular design also allows for easy cleaning and sterilisation as well as replacing filters which are made of non-woven fabric and meltdown fabric,” said the researcher.
Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, executive vice-president of the university, said: “Community-relevant research has always remained a key pillar of our strategy and we are keen to offer our resources to support research and development in this area, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. The current situation is unprecedented in history, and has created challenges that require smart scientific solutions through innovation.”
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