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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V009486/1
Title: Enhancing facemask effectiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic through the development of personalised additively manufactured PPE
Principal Investigator: Addison, Professor O
Other Investigators:
Cox, Dr S Grover, Professor LM Coward, Professor T
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Dental Institute
Organisation: Kings College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2020 Ends: 30 April 2021 Value (£): 157,474
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Healthcare
Related Grants:
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Summary on Grant Application Form
This project brings together digitial facial profiling with advanced additive manufacturing of medical grade silicones to improve the effectiveness of facemasks for key workers during the COVID-19 crisis. Customisation of FFP3 standard facemasks, whether generic or those being developed through alternative manufacturing routes to address the global supply shortage, is urgently required to (i) provide an effective seal protecting workers against viral transmission and (ii) enhance wearability to prevent skin trauma that is associated with prolonged use.

In this project we will firstly assess the suitability of using smart phone based 3D imaging technologies to capture facial form and compare this data with clinically used photogrammetry. Simultaneously we will develop and assess a range of custom silicone interface prototypes that can be applied to existing FFP3 masks and newly developed designs. To achieve this we will use our existing expertise of 3D printing silicone to systematically optimise compositions tailored for this application exploring rheological and deposition variables. Our aim is to rapidly progress to mask 'fit' checking according to standard clinical procedures, evaluating for superiority in seal, comfort and reduced fitting time. Efficacy of viral disinfection of the additively manufactured silicone interfaces will also be assessed to facilitate translation. End-users will take an active part in the project, which itself will be supported by institutional research and development / commercialisation teams to maximise the chance of scale-up at the earliest timepoint.

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