The ExOne Company, a provider of industrial 3D printers using binder-jetting technology, and the University of Pittsburgh partnered to develop reusable metal filters that fit into a specially designed respirator cartridge for sustainable, long-term protection against contaminants, such as COVID-19. ExOne’s binder-jetting technology is a high-speed form of 3D printing that can produce metal parts with specific porosity levels that can effectively filter out contaminants while allowing airflow.

The North Huntingdon, Pa.-based company has 3D printed respirator filters in two metals – copper and 316L stainless steel – and a range of porosity levels for use inside a unique cartridge designed by the Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science department in Pitt’s Swanson School of Engineering. Initial testing for airflow and filtration efficiency is currently under way, and the filters are being optimized with the goal of adhering to an N95 respirator standard.