Control of exhaled SARS-CoV-2-laden aerosols in the interpersonal breathing microenvironment in a ventilated room with limited space air stability


Lan Mo , Xiaorui Deng , Guangcai Gong , Xizhi He , Xing Shi

DOI:10.1016/j.jes.2021.01.025

Received November 06, 2020,Revised , Accepted January 21, 2021, Available online January 26, 2021

Volume 33,2021,Pages 175-187

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) highlights the importance of understanding and controlling the spread of the coronavirus between persons. We experimentally and numerically investigated an advanced engineering and environmental method on controlling the transmission of airborne SARS-CoV-2-laden aerosols in the breathing microenvironment between two persons during interactive breathing process by combining the limited space air stability and a ventilation method. Experiments were carried out in a full-scale ventilated room with different limited space air stability conditions, i.e., stable condition, neutral condition and unstable condition. Two real humans were involved to conducted normal breathing process in the room and the exhaled carbon dioxide was used as the surrogate of infectious airborne SARS-CoV-2-laden aerosols from respiratory activities. A correspondent numerical model was established to visualize the temperature field and contaminated field in the test room. Results show that the performance of a ventilation system on removing infectious airborne SARS-CoV-2-laden aerosols from the interpersonal breathing microenvironment is dependent on the limited space air stability conditions. Appropriate ventilation method should be implemented based on an evaluation of the air condition. It is recommended that total volume ventilation methods are suitable for unstable and neutral conditions and local ventilation methods are preferable for stable conditions. This study provides an insight into the transmission of airborne SARS-CoV-2-laden aerosols between persons in ventilated rooms with different limited space air stability conditions. Useful guidance has been provided to cope with COVID-19 in limited spaces.

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