Purdue students helping fight COVID-19

Purdue students working on the front lines to help provide medical equipment.

Posted: Apr 22, 2020 8:10 AM
Updated: Apr 22, 2020 10:41 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — During the coronavirus pandemic, some Purdue students have been working on the front lines. They are working to make glasses, face mask, N95 respirators and disposable fittings for ventilators.

Purdue University graduate student, Soho Yun, is one of them. She can be found making the medical equipment at the Indiana Manufacturing Institute in West Lafayette.

Purdue University faculty and staff have begun producing medical supplies to deliver to hospitals in Indiana. Using test-bed manufacturing facilities at the university, they have produced safety glasses, face shields, disposable connectors for ventilators

"I was not expecting to be working on this specific project where we get to help a lot of people in need of protective equipment," said Yun. 

Yun and other Purdue students have been making frames for protective glasses and face shields. Even though Yun never imagined she would be doing this, she is glad she has experience. 

"My experience in computer aid, design and 3D printing has come in handy during this kind of project," said Yun.

Nathan Hartman, Purdue's Dauch Family Professor of Advanced Manufacturing and head of the Department of Computer Graphics Technology, is one of the staff members involved.

Hartman said once the virus hit, it took them three weeks to get things rolling. 

"In that three week period of time, it's almost as if we went from nothing to what resembles a start up company," said Hartman.

Hartman says by the end of this week they will have made 10,000 shields and 300 sets of gowns, caps and foot covers. Once the equipment is made, the team sends the supplies to hospitals in Indiana.

"Right now we are in discussion about whether any certain surplus can be sent out of state," said Hartman. "But for the time being we're pretty sure it will all get absorbed in Indiana."

Hartman says at this time they do not have the capacity to be someone's main supplier, but with roughly 50 people working on the project from multiple departments on campus, they are continuing to increase their supply.

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