COVID - Reduce the risk during air travel

Our modern way of life is deeply dependent on air travel as well as other modes of public transportation. Business people, vacationers, family members and friends are, one way or another, affected by the travel ban caused by COVID-19. Social distancing guidelines aim to minimize the spread of airborne diseases while in open spaces or large enclosed environments. But these guidelines are extremely difficult to follow when traveling on a plane, bus, subway, etc. Not only are passengers confined to a relatively small enclosed space, but the necessary ventilation systems can cause strong air currents that quickly spread the droplets from exhalation, coughing or sneezing throughout the passenger compartment. This introduces significant safety concerns as we decide whether or not to resume traveling.

So how do we protect ourselves while traveling? This is an especially difficult question for an airborne virus like SARS-CoV-2 that causes the COVID-19 disease. Understanding the flow patterns inside a passenger cabin can be used as a basis to suggest new best practices for safe air travel. To achieve this goal, Ansys computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, Ansys Fluent, is used to model the motion of particles exhaled by a coughing passenger.


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