Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, March 31, 2020

South Dakota Mines Works to Design Prototype Masks for Local Healthcare Providers

This prototype mask, printed at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, includes a space for a filter that can be inserted and disposed of after use. This first prototype is leading to new designs that can be mass produced to meet the huge need for masks in the healthcare community.


UPDATE:   In an effort to help local healthcare providers overcome a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology is working to design masks that can be used by the local community.

The project began following a meeting between Mines alumnus Brad Haupt, Vice President of Supply Chain and Contract Management at Monument Health, Mines President Jim Rankin and others on Saturday, March 21. Haupt expressed a concern over the long-term shortage of masks at Monument Health, especially in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. President Rankin offered Mines resources to help.

The effort, which quickly ramped up, currently includes faculty and students in the South Dakota Mines departments of industrial, mechanical, chemical, biological and biomedical engineering as well as chemistry, biology and health sciences. The departments began by 3D printing prototypes. Those prototypes have led to new designs and collaboration that can lead to eventual mass manufacturing.

The mask now in design at Mines was first inspired by a 3D printed mask developed in Montana in mid-March. That design was shared with the public though the Billings Clinic Foundation. A YouTube video from KTVQ news shows more.

Mines faculty took the design and will continue working with officials at Monument Health to ensure the masks will provide proper protection. Mines faculty are also working with area manufactures to possibly mass produce any approved designs.

Science and engineering involve a process of trial and error, and this effort is evolving quickly.  Those with questions or a willingness to help can reach the university at mediarelations@sdsmt.edu.

Monument Health is also seeking PPE from any other members of the local community who may have extra on hand. Read more here.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu

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