NC State students make face shields for hospitals amid COVID-19 pandemic

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Many people are stepping up in our community to help amid the COVID-19 pandemic, including a group of graduate students at North Carolina State University.

On Saturday, they were busy working in the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering machine shop making face shields for hospitals.

“This is mostly graduate students from my lab and some other labs involved,” said Dr. Landon Grace, assistant professor with the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department.

Grace said they jumped on the opportunity to help when UNC Rex contacted them last week.

“It means a lot,” he said. “We’ve got this very intractable problem and we can play an immediate role in solving it,” Grace said.

There’s been a shortage of masks for medical professionals across the country and here locally.

The volunteers at N.C. State are laser-cutting plastic sheets and then attaching a rubber lining to them, which creates a seal so air can be pumped in.

They bag the masks and send them to UNC Health where they’re tested and distributed.

Each mask takes about 15 minutes to make. They’ve been making about 80 a day.

“I think, as an engineer, as a member of the community, it’s important for us to still contribute and do what we can to help,” said Jordan Tsolis, an N.C. State graduate student and lab manager.

Students said it’s been encouraging to see different communities rallying to support others during this time.

“I think here at N.C. State, we take a lot of pride in the projects we do, the impact we have on the community, and the pride we share as the Wolfpack together,” said Tsolis.

They anticipate making 5,000 masks over the next 30 to 60 days.

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