IJERPH, Vol. 19, Pages 9928: Did You Just Cough? Visualization of Vapor Diffusion in an Office Using Computational Fluid Dynamics Analysis (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Awareness of indoor air quality (IAQ) in crowded places such as schools and offices has increased since 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, countries’ shifting away from containment and towards living with COVID-19 is expected to increase demand for risk mitigation via air-purification devices. In this work, we use Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis to investigate the impact of adding an air-purification technology on airflow in an enclosed space. We model a Polyester Filter and UV light (PFUV) dehumidifier in an office with two occupants: one infected with an airborne infectious disease, such as COVID-19; and the other uninfected. We compare three cases where the infected occupant coughs: with no device, and with the device at two different orientations. We construct a CFD model using ANSYS® 2021 Fluent and the Discrete Phase Model (DPM) for the particle treatment. Thermal comfort is assessed using the Testo 400 IAQ and comfort kit. We find that both the device operation and the placement alter the airflow contours, significantly reducing the potential for the uninfected occupant to inhale the vapour expelled by the infected occupant, potentially impacting the likelihood of disease transmission. The device improved thermal comfort measured by Predicted Mean Vote (PMV), Predicted Percentage Dissatisfied (PPD).