Creating Sustainable N-95 Masks

Researchers at NYU Abu Dhabi have created a mask that is both sustainable and safe.

Anthony Tzes, Program Head for Electrical and Computer Engineering, has designed face masks that are both comfortable and good for the environment. 

Working closely with the NYUAD’s health center, Tzes 3D printed N-95 masks made from plastic. The material allows for users to disinfect the face mask after uses, unlike the typical N-95 masks that the WHO recommends as one-time-use only. 

“The mask is environmentally friendly because you can reuse them, but it is also friendly to the human, meaning it will not cause itching or irritation,” he said.

Tzes says recommends users wash the masks with disinfectants, allowing people to use one mask over time as opposed to the disposable ones. The design was shared with the health center and could even be expanded upon in the future. 

“I was impressed by the masks Tony's team were able to make on short notice.  They had a good seal and were sturdy to wear. The COVID crisis affects us all.  It is everybody's responsibility to contribute.  The best way forward is together and understanding that the health of one is the health of us all,” Ayaz Virji, MD Medical Director, The Health Center.    

Professor Tzes, stopped all the research he was working on to redirect his effort towards developing tools and solutions that can better help humanity cope with the disruption caused by COVID-19. He says it’s the responsibility of every researcher that thinks they can contribute to these unprecedented times.

“I think it is the responsibility of people to step in and do what they can. I stopped my project 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,” he said.