Assistant professor of architecture Ken Marold was recently awarded $35,000 to develop and scale up production for a 3D printed respirator mask in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

The recent response to the COVID-19 crisis has demonstrated a severe shortage of the N95 masks required to protect healthcare workers while caring for sick patients, also of concern are other essential service providers such as child care, grocery store, delivery and transportation workers. The US CDC is now recommending all Americans wear face masks while in public, and this will further stress the short supply of all respirator supplies.

Together with colleagues Evan Floyd from the OU Health Sciences Center and Bobby Reed from OU Libraries, Marold’s project seeks to help alleviate this shortage of personal protective equipment. The team will refine and test 3D printed respirator design that can be reused, fitted with home-sourced filtering material, and mass-produced by the “maker” community.

This project is one of just ten research projects led by University of Oklahoma researchers that were awarded funding by the OU Office of the Vice President for Research and Partnerships to address the COVID-19 pandemic. His proposal was selected from 72 proposals submitted in a one week period.

“The selection committee looked for research teams who provided compelling ideas, approaches and solutions to address current issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Associate Vice President for Research and Partnerships Ann West.

To learn more about projects funded as part of the OU Vice President for Research and Partnerships’ Rapid Response Research Seed Grant program, click here.

Featured image: Test prints of respirator masks. Courtesy Ken Marold.