EURēCA: Exhibition of Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement

Presenter Information

Nicholas Van SonFollow

Faculty Mentor

Maged Guerguis

Department (e.g. History, Chemistry, Finance, etc.)


College (e.g. College of Engineering, College of Arts & Sciences, Haslam College of Business, etc.)

College of Architecture and Design




Additive Manufacturing (AM) (3D-printing) is still an emerging technology, and many of its applications have yet to be explored; all the while, we still use age-old industry methods in a variety of fields. This research investigates the potential for AM to serve as a solution to the problems presented in these methods. With the support of UTK’s Office of Research, the following research focuses on two main objectives: improving the ergonomics, effectiveness, and production of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and improving the sustainability and structural performance of large-scale construction systems.

The first objective came as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. After participating in a 3D-printed face shield relief effort, the need for a new quick, comfortable, effective, and long-lasting face shield became apparent. Through collaboration with doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals on the front lines of COVID-19, the UT-Shield was developed.

The second objective focuses primarily on computational design and AM workflows that manufacture a robotically controlled 3D-printed building assembly. Today, the construction industry still uses century-old methods that result in a substantial amount of waste produced in the U.S., emphasizing the need for new improvements to workflow, material, and technology. The new workflow developed in this research optimizes the internal structure and builds up material only in areas of high stress, similar to biomimetic principles found in nature. This process maximizes performance while minimizing weight. The combined research of objectives one and two discuss the overall potential of AM with an emphasis on computational design, evaluation, and the fabrication of 3D printed prototypes at various scales.

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