MACON, Ga-- Students and professors at Mercer University's School of Engineering are working to design a reusable surgical mask for local healthcare workers who are in need as they treat patients with COVID-19.
According to a press release from the university, students have enough materials to make as many as 150 masks. Those masks will be made of polypropylene and can be sanitized and reused; however, this is an air filter clipped on the front of the mask that should be replaced.
A 2002 Mercer graduate, Dr. Amber Lawson, started the project to create the masks. Dr. Lawson, who is part of the Georgia Dental Association's COVID-19 Task Force, contacted Mercer about creating a 3D printed mask. An orthodontist from Cumming, Georgia, Dr. Mark Causey, shared a design for a mask with those task force members that can be sealed using dental materials in an effort to help healthcare workers who are running low on N95 masks.
Dr. Joanna Thomas and Dr. Anthony Choi, both professors at Mercer, are working with Dr. David Miller, a Professor of Engineering Technology at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, to test the materials and produce the masks. Meanwhile, students in Mercer's Robotics Club are working to come up with a faster way to produce the 3D masks.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Centers for Disease Control have issued new guidelines that home made masks are a last resort once N95 masks run out.