Title: Modelling of aerosol trajectories in a mechanically-ventilated study room using computational fluid dynamics in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

Authors: R.M.P.S. Bandara; W.C.D.K. Fernando; R.A. Attalage

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Ratmalana, Sri Lanka ' Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University, Ratmalana, Sri Lanka ' Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, Malabe, Sri Lanka

Abstract: Millions of people have been infected globally due to the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and spread of the disease indoors has become a challenging issue. In this context, the study focused on modelling the trajectories of virus-laden aerosols in a study room by the computational fluid dynamics approach under four mechanically-driven ventilation strategies: cavity flow, displacement flow and two cases of mixing flow. Modelling was conducted by coupling discrete phase model with the continuous phase during simulations. Mixing flow - case 1 is proved to be the safest strategy as the virus-laden aerosols leave the room in a single-pass without exposing the occupants. In displacement flow and mixing flow - case 2 ventilation, aerosols get entrapped in the supply air stream, causing heavy circulation while exposing many occupants. The study opens up new avenues for an extensive analysis on establishing an optimal ventilation solution in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 indoors.

Keywords: COVID-19; aerosols; infection; trajectories; modelling; mechanically driven; ventilation strategies; computational fluid dynamics; CFD.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSPM.2021.10046774

International Journal of Simulation and Process Modelling, 2021 Vol.17 No.4, pp.250 - 262

Received: 10 May 2021
Accepted: 14 Sep 2021

Published online: 25 Apr 2022 *

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