Virginia Tech Mechanical Engineers come together to design PPE for area health professionals

Digital Originals

BLACKSBURG, Va. (WFXR) – Virginia Tech, with the aid of 75 students and staff across the Virginia Tech campus, came together to research and design Personal Protective Equipment or PPE for local health professionals. Today, Virginia Tech’s Chris Williams, professor of mechanical engineering, spoke with us about how this all came about.

“This is a trans-disciplinary effort, that’s a really key important point here. We have expertise in lots of different topics all related to the process of creating and providing a supply of medical equipment.”

Chris Williams – Professor of Mechanical Engineering / Virginia Tech

Getting from idea to final design took a lot of work and collaboration to meet the needs of medical professionals.

“Parallel pathing really helped us, we started out with about a dozen different designs for shields and we continually trim them down and modify them in order to meet the requirements of the medical community.”

Liam Chapin – Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering / Virginia Tech

“Parallel pathing” is a term often used in engineering to describe the collaborative work that goes into making a usable safe product in the quickest time possible.

“Developing a solution and then narrowing down which one is the most viable. If we, for example, said we’re going to 3D print one component and then work on that for a week… later ultimately decide Ok we should be machining it instead, work on that for another week. That delays your ability deliver parts by a substantial margin.”

Genevieve Gural – Graduate Mechanical Engineering / Virginia Tech

The biggest need in our area according to the request Virginia Tech receives is face shields.

“I produced a prototype and handed it off to at LewisGale and we were immediately told: “We’d like 350 of these.”

Liam Chapin – Undergraduate Mechanical Engineering / Virginia Tech

Chris Williams mentioned time and time again how this was only possible by the community coming together in trying times.

“It’s really a community involvement here… so we wanted to have a chance to acknowledge everyone’s effort.”

Chris Williams – Professor of Mechanical Engineering / Virginia Tech

Latest Stories

Get breaking news, weather, and sports delivered to your smartphone with the WFXR News app available on Apple and Android.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

News tips

Do you have a news tip or breaking news to share with WFXR?  Submit your tip here.

Latest News

More News

News Tip Form

Restaurant Service Guide