NYU Abu Dhabi Produces Sustainable 3D Printed Masks to Combat the Spread of COVID-19

Sustainable 3D printed masks reduces the impact of single-use masks on the environment

Press Release

To help tackle the rapid spread of COVID-19, Program Head and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYUAD Anthony Tzes has developed an eco-friendly 3D printed face mask based on the N95 specifications.

The pandemic has seen N95 masks become a critical accessory for healthcare professionals and members of the public as they protect themselves against contracting the virus. Due to an ever-increasing rise in demand for protective masks, a single-use N95 mask has become detrimental to the environment. The 3D printed N95 mask provides a viable solution to meet the needs of both safety and sustainability due to its ability to be re-sterilized and re-used.

This innovative 3-D printed mask has been created in collaboration with the Health Center at NYUAD, and is designed to be protective, comfortable and re-usable, while reducing the impact on the environment.


“I think it is the responsibility of people to step in and do what they can. I stopped my projects to do this. I could use the 3D printers to do something else but I told my postdocs to stop and think and to start generating masks. Let’s hope this ends soon but in the meantime, we must work together.”

Program Head and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NYUAD Anthony Tzes

The masks are treated with heat in order to achieve a smooth surface, and then breathing filters are placed on the mask, straps are tightened, and a simple layer of recyclable, environment-friendly polyurethane is placed on its boundary. It is made of plastic, predominantly of tough Polylactic Acid (PLA), a biocompatible material that bio-degrades into Lactic Acid (LA). As the mask is recyclable, it also minimizes pollution caused by waste.

He added: “The mask is environmentally friendly because you can reuse them, but it is also friendly to humans, meaning it will not cause itching or irritation.”

Anthony Tzes is a native of Greece with more than 30 years of engineering experience. He joined NYUAD in 2017 as a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and established the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Lab where he is currently the Principal Investigator. His research interests include Autonomous Mobile Systems (UAVs), Surgical Robotics, Networked Systems, and Cyber-Physical Systems. However, since the emergence of COVID-19, Tzes and his Post-Doctoral Associate Dr. Nikolaos Evangeliou have redirected their efforts towards developing tools and solutions that can better help humanity cope with the challenges caused by the global pandemic.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.