Researchers at Abu Dhabi's Khalifa University of Science and Technology are in the process of developing a reusable 3D printed mask as a potential replacement for standard N95 masks.
The university's Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC) is currently developing various aspects of the design, taking into consideration requirements including filtration performance, geometry/fit, flexibility and material suitability for medical applications.
Medically graded materials were used in the manufacture of the components.
A prototype has already been printed and once completed, an assessment will be performed before it gets qualified and approved.
The N95 respirators and surgical face masks are personal protective equipment (PPE) that offer protection from airborne particles and from liquid contaminating the face.
"Community-relevant research has always remained a key pillar of our strategy and we are keen to offer our resources to support R&D in this area, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology.
"The current situation is unprecedented in history, and has created challenges that require smart scientific solutions through innovation," he added.
Over the past five years, ARIC has completed nine main industry-focused projects, 28 student-led projects involving 65 UAE national students, several patented innovations, and more than 30 academic publications in reputed research journals.