Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Peter Gustafson

Second Advisor

John Spitsbergen

Third Advisor

Nicholas Andreadis


The goal of this design project is to integrate engineering and biomedical knowledge to solve a current problem in third world medicine. Bubble CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) is a widely used treatment to help recruit and stabilize the alveoli of the lungs of premature neonates. However, the sicker babies need Nasal Intermittent Positive Pressure Ventilation (NIPPV), which costs thousands of dollars. The team seeks to design an effective, inexpensive and energy efficient NIPPV set up that can be implemented in centers currently equipped for bubble CPAP.

The design with greatest promise was selected from several constructed prototypes. Experimental testing and analytical modeling with a Design of Computational Experiment were used to optimize this design and gain insight to the effects of key parameters. A Design of Experiment was conducted for parameters for which simple relations were not known. Design for Manufacturability principles were incorporated into the final design for a cost efficient, simple and effective NIPPV device. Plans for clinical trials this summer are underway.

This design problem is especially relevant because a group at RICE University has developed and is now running clinical trials on a low cost bubble CPAP machine; with collaboration the low cost NIPPV device could reach the world.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted