Spurred by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pennington student Olivia Bottomley, Class of 2022, used her ingenuity, creativity and applied science skills to contribute to the search for more effective personal protective equipment (PPE): she spent her summer designing and building a partially 3D-printed mask.
Surgical N95 respirators are the standard face covering for healthcare professionals working with COVID-19 patients. Due to a shortage of N95 masks, the public are dissuaded from purchasing them.
“I set myself the challenge to achieve the same level of protection without depriving healthcare professionals of their PPE,” Bottomley said in a statement released by The Pennington School.
On Sept. 23, Bottomley presented her 3D-printed mask to the Pennington community during her Applied Science talk, “Using STEM Skills to Solve COVID Challenges.” During the talk, Bottomley explained the process and technology she used to design the product.
“In order for the N95 filter to be as effective as possible, it needs to fit around your face snugly,” Bottomley said, according to the statement.
With a 3D printer, photogrammetry, and a 3D slicer, she created a perfect outline of her lower face.
Bottomley then experimented with various filter materials, and ultimately chose Filti Face Mask Material, which is breathable and highly protective. However, the 3D-printed mask, when covered with N95 filter material, has the potential to work better than a standard N95 mask, according to the statement.
Bottomley noted that the project underwent many iterations. She was ultimately pleased with the results, and encouraged her fellow students to not give up in the face of roadblocks, according to the statement.