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An initial study to develop a numerical tool using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methods for investigating the potential of disease transmission in commercial aircraft is completed. To gain insight of the general airflow pattern, a detailed CFD model of a small section in the passenger cabin of a B767-300 passenger cabin was built and a Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulation was performed. By comparing with the available test data, the RANS simulation substantially under predicted the turbulence intensity, especially in and around the breathing zone. A separate large eddy simulation (LES) was conducted to obtain a more realistic turbulent energy transport in a generic cabin model. The LES predicted turbulence level is in fairly good agreement with the test data. Based on the LES results, the k and e equations used in the RANS simulation were modified by using a special user subroutine. A RANS simulation with adjusted turbulence was then employed to simulate the dispersion of airborne pathogen in the detailed passenger cabin model. These adjustments allow for the simulation of disease transmission using less than 1/100 of the computing hardware resources required for an equivalent LES of airflow and particle transport.

Units: Dual

Citation: Symposium, ASHRAE Transactions, vol. 111, pt. 1, Orlando 2005