Industrial - Bachelors

Positive Pressure Respirator

trophy Awarded

The positive pressure respirator aims to provide a respiratory protection solution for rural firefighters in Australia. The respirator creates a safe and comfortable breathing experience for firefighters while actively monitoring oxygen intake which status is displayed in real time and can be monitored by users and team members alike. This respirator provides protection to frontline staff and gives them the best opportunity to look after their safety while they look after ours.

Firefighter Respiratory Protection Issues

Rural firefighters are currently ill equipped when it comes to respiratory protection. Even though there are clear health concerns most firefighters wear only standard P2 Masks which do not provide adequate protection. P2 masks are not designed for use by firefighters and are unable to withstand the extreme operating requirements at a firefront.

To address the lack of specialised respiratory protection for rural firefighters the positive pressure mask provides an innovative solution to protect the people who put their lives at risk every year.

“The problem with P2 masks is that they are flimsy. They can get wet, the can get bumped, they start to fall off when you start sweating, it becomes uncomfortable and anecdotally a lot of the time the P2 masks were spent hanging around peoples necks rather than their face”

Brett Carle – Firefighter cancer coalition

Research Report

Industry Partner

The design direction was chosen after multiple rounds of qualitative research was conducted in conjunction with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES). Through this research report a solid foundation of knowledge was built which resulted in an effective response to the issues faced by QFES throughout the bushfire season.
Research Report – Queensland Bushfire Response
File Type
File Size
4 MB
Download File

DESIGN solution

Air Flow

1. Air is sucked through a magnetically attached panel filter unit located on the left side of the mask.

2. A slimline fan capable of providing up to 120L of air per minute is responsible for providing airflow into the mask.

3. Air is channelled into the mask through an internal air passage. The micro-oxygen sensor is located here and can be seen in white.

4. Air makes its way into the silicone face seal creating a positive pressure environment around the nose and mouth.

Real-time oxygen content monitoring

Intake air monitoring via a micro-oxygen sensor

Intuitive LED status display

Early detection prior to oxygen depravation

Status light is projected upwards and outwards

Mounting Mechanism

Fidlock magnetic attachment system for fast mounting and dismounting of mask

Mask snaps onto helmet bracket when in range

Adjustment mechanism is mounted inside the helmet and requires a one-time setup for individual users

Fidlock Buckle Technology

Exploded Views & Parts


The positive pressure mask utilises a combination of off-the-shelf parts and custom-made parts. The main custom parts are the two body shells.

Manufacturing Type
– Multi-cavity plastic injection moulding

Post- Processes
– Ultrasonic welding
– Silicone Over moulding

– Polyurethane

Main advantages for this design
– Resistant to extreme temperatures (up to 150ᵒC)
– Water, oil and grease resistant
– Abrasion and impact resistant
– Strong structural properties while providing some flexibility
– Available in a wide range of hardness ratings

Design progress

Prototype 1

Main Takeaways/Benefits of Prototype
-Exploring filter attachment options
-Exploring rough sizing of components

Prototype 2

Main Takeaways/Benefits of Prototype
-Understanding weight of components + need to distribute evenly
-Understanding size of filter housing
-Exploring attachment/fitment to face
-User experience of changing filter

prototype 3

Main Takeaways/Benefits of Prototype
-Exploring side mounted filter housing options
-Understanding visual restrictions and user experience of a larger mask body
-Fitment and sizing of body
-User experience when manouvering and wearing mask during activities
-Aesthetic exploration

prototype 4

Main Takeaways/Benefits of Prototype
– Compatibility with standard issue helmet
– Aestetic design direction
– User experience testing – filter change, mounting, wearing, storage etc.
– Fitment of internal parts and body shells
– Fault finding prior to final model

prototype 5 – Final model

additional images

Søren Waldmann

Søren Waldmann is a third year industrial design student at QUT. Throughout his degree Søren has developed a comprehensive skillset, which when coupled with his strong work ethic has allowed him to consistantly deliver high quality results. Innovation, sustainability and real-world application are some of the underlying driving factors of his design approach. Søren aims to immerse himself in the design industry and be part of creating a better future.