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Ventilation Performance of Passenger Aircraft in Controlling Contaminant Dispersion from Expiratory Events

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Title: Ventilation Performance of Passenger Aircraft in Controlling Contaminant Dispersion from Expiratory Events
Author: Abdelaal, Hossam A.
Department: School of Engineering
Program: Engineering
Advisor: Chiang, Emily YWAliabadi, Amir A.
Abstract: The cabins of passenger aircraft experience one of the most complex indoor environments among all other means of mass public transportation. Numerical simulations for the ventilation performance in mitigating the passenger exposure to cough-released airborne contaminant are performed in a model for a Boeing 767-300 sectional cabin. The effect of the aircraft acceleration-induced body forces on the airflow patterns and the contaminant dispersion behavior in the cabin is investigated for different aircraft operating conditions. Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) was used as a surrogate for cough particles in the size from 1.6 to 3.0 µm. The flight legs studied are the steady level flight (cruise) leg, and the climb and descent legs under both the aircraft normal and extreme (flight through gusts) operating conditions. It was found that the acceleration-induced body forces on the aircraft have limited effect on the contaminant dispersion behavior under normal operating conditions. However, under extreme operating conditions, it was found that those body forces have a significant impact on the contaminant dispersion phenomena, especially during the climb leg, during which the exposure to cough-released airborne contaminants may reach 2.8 to 3 times its counterpart during other flight legs. To counter those high passenger exposures, different airflow design and source control strategies are researched for their ability to reduce the airborne contaminant dispersion in the aircraft cabin model during the steady level flight leg and climb leg under extreme operating conditions. Some strategies were effective and resulted in exposures reduced by up to 60%. To complement the findings attained utilizing the SF6 surrogate, uniform particles with diameters 2.5 µm, 7.5 µm, and 10 µm were injected in the cabin model. It was found that the 7.5 µm particles exhibited a dissimilar dispersion behavior to the 2.5 and 10 µm particles as they could stay for long time in the cabin without settling and/or depositing on surfaces during the two investigated flight legs. This indicates that expiratory airborne particles of intermediate size can pose the greatest infection risk on the passengers throughout most of the flight duration.
Date: 2019-12
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