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As pandemic diminishes, Iowa State students devise creative ways to reuse plexiglass barriers


From offices to supermarkets, casinos and more, plexiglass barriers have become ubiquitous after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease. In fact, they’re so common now that you might not even be paying for them. a lot of thought. But Katie Baumgarn did. The Iowa State University course planner wondered what would happen to them after the pandemic ended. in a landfill, ”Baumgarn said. So she took up her idea with colleagues and eventually a team was formed. This team includes Dan Neubauer, associate professor of industrial design at ISU. “This stuff doesn’t break down, it doesn’t degrade,” Neubauer said. . “He’s right in a landfill.” Neubauer said after students and staff determined there were around 500 obstacles on campus, he put his class to work. The students helped design ways to recycle or recycle the material. Neubauer said recycling plexiglass is not easy. “That hasn’t stopped me from pushing my students to try and find ways to make it work and make it great,” Neubauer said. . Neubauer says the cutout and heat of the acrylic makes it pliable, making it ready to be reused. Ideas from the students included brochure holders, desk organizers, adjustable desks, and even jewelry. Baumgarn and Neubauer said they know the ISU is not the only place the barriers are used, so they are hopeful that other organizations or companies could learn something from this project. “It would be great if others could see the story and say ‘Wow what are we going to do with our plexiglass, you know how can we help keep it out of the landfill?’” He said. she declared. Despite the fact that businesses and organizations have spent millions to install them, it is still not clear if the barriers are actually preventing COVID-19. A CDC study of elementary schools in Georgia found that masks and proper ventilation help prevent the spread of the virus, rather than barriers. In fact, a Japanese article, awaiting peer review, suggests that plastic barriers actually made conditions worse in poorly ventilated areas.

From offices to supermarkets, casinos and more, plexiglass barriers have become ubiquitous after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to stop the spread of the disease.

In fact, they’re so common now that you might not even think about them much. But Katie Baumgarn did.

The Iowa State University course planner wondered what would happen to them once the pandemic was over.

“My worry was ‘oh, wow, when we get out of this pandemic people are just going to go and dump it in a landfill,’” Baumgarn said.

So she took up her idea with colleagues and eventually a team was formed.

This team includes Dan Neubauer, associate professor of industrial design at ISU.

“This stuff doesn’t break down, it doesn’t degrade,” Neubauer said. “He’s right in a landfill.”

Neubauer said after students and staff determined there were around 500 obstacles on campus, he put his class to work. Students helped design ways to recycle or recycle the material.

Neubauer said recycling plexiglass is not easy.

“That hasn’t stopped me from pushing my students to try and find ways to make it work and make it great,” Neubauer said.

Neubauer says the cutout and heat of the acrylic makes it pliable, making it ready to be reused. Ideas from the students included brochure holders, desk organizers, adjustable desks, and even jewelry.

Baumgarn and Neubauer both said they know the ISU is not the only place the barriers are used, so they are hopeful that other organizations or companies could learn something from this project.

“It would be great if others could see the story and say ‘Wow what are we going to do with our plexiglass, you know how can we help keep it out of the landfill?’” He said. she declared.

Despite the fact that businesses and organizations have spent millions to install them, it is still unclear whether the barriers actually prevent COVID-19. A CDC study of elementary schools in Georgia found that masks and proper ventilation help prevent the spread of the virus, rather than barriers.

In fact, a Japanese article, pending peer review, suggests that plastic barriers actually made conditions worse in poorly ventilated areas.

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