A group of researchers from the University of Arizona's College of Engineering and College of Medicine are 3D printing medical masks for health care workers at Banner Medical Center.
The project involves multiple scientific fields; researchers in materials science and engineering will print the masks, then a chemical engineering researcher and a medical professor will test the masks to make sure they meet standards set by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
The materials science researchers are currently testing multiple mask designs on their available 3D printers, but have ordered 10 new 3D printers and hope to increase production to 200 masks and 2,000 disposable filters per week. Some of the current mask designs were created by UA's engineering students, and the researchers hope to finalize a mask design soon.
This increase in medical masks is aimed at helping health care workers in need of medical equipment to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this week, Pima County Health Director Bob England stated that the county could not keep up the demand from local hospitals for medical equipment. While Pima County received a shipment of the state's portion of the federal National Strategic Stockpile, it's not enough.
England said when the County tried to respond to the requests of local hospitals, they could only deliver 9 percent of the surgical masks, 3 percent of the goggles and face shields, and 2 percent of the gloves that were requested.