Creating 3D-printed ventilator splitters for COVID-19 patients

June 5, 2020
splitter

UNT is using 3D printing technology to make ventilator splitters that will allow doctors to use a single ventilator to treat two patients.

In response to the possible need for more ventilators to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients, a team from UNT’s College of Engineering collaborated to adapt a design and manufacture ventilator splitters in the college’s digital manufacturing lab.

“Hector Siller, our manufacturing engineering technology department program coordinator, received the design and worked with his grad student Cesar Chavez and department lab manager, Bobby Grimes to generate files for 3D printing, print the first prototype and test the model immediately,” says Andrey Voevodin, College of Engineering associate dean for research. “After the splitter model was tested on a hospital ventilator, the team made design modifications and had it ready for production in just two days. That is impressive.”

Using biocompatible materials that can be sterilized for medical applications, the team printed 20 splitters along with flow limiter inserts that allow medical providers to adjust air flow for each patient.

“We are a Tier One research university because we have the expertise, equipment and capability of tackling world-sized problems,” says Mark McLellan, UNT vice president for research and innovation. “I believe these and other 3D UNT research projects currently seeking to find solutions for issues resulting from COVID-19 show our researchers’ talent and their commitment to caring for our community.”