Fluid Proof, Breathable Mattress Covers and Dressings

Fluid proof, breathable mattress covers and dressings senior design project




Noel Buitrago, Sam Groce, Chase Hunsaker, Kasem Qassem

Project Description

The pervasiveness of pressure ulcers and other hospital-acquired pressure injuries has become a grave challenge within the hospital setting. Commonly found in patients of advanced age or limited mobility, these injuries can have serious health repercussions and require expensive treatment. However, these afflictions are entirely preventable and companies like Stryer work to combat them by developing advanced surface cover technologies. Currently, this technology is reliant upon polyurethanes, which possess great chemical resistance yet lack the breathability necessary to prevent pressure wounds. It is the goal of this project to design an improved surface cover in order to mitigate, if not eliminate, the possibility of pressure wounds within the hospital setting. 

We have worked vigorously to research, test and implement innovative materials in order to further the potential of bed covers in a medical setting for both the patient’s comfort and the wellbeing. Initially, we worked as a team to establish key measurables that would need to be met by the end of the project, which included: breathability, chemical resistance, fluid resistance, and mechanical abrasion resistance. Identifying measurables allowed us to research materials that satisfy the end goals of the project, including rain jacket technology for its fluid resistant and breathable properties. From this research, we utilized standardized test methods to assess these materials for our key measurables. Gathering results for materials provided technical justification for the construction of our first prototypes, which was a series of multilayered structures. We employed the same standardized test methods to evaluate our prototypes against our benchmark data. Prototype evaluation led to a second round material selection, during which we were able to identify a bonding method and coating method for our second round of prototypes, which are still undergoing testing. 

Even with a month remaining in the semester, we have learned many lessons. One significant takeaway from this experience has been the importance of asking questions. There were instances during all stages of the project where asking more questions, specifically regarding resources within the Wilson College of Textiles, would have made the process easier. Secondly, the importance of setting due dates for tasks has been noted over the course of the project as set dates assist in keeping long term projects on track. Lastly, we learned to expect the unexpected as delays and unforeseen issues tend to arise. Preparing contingency plans in anticipation of setback or failure can minimize their impact on the project.