Transport and trajectory of cough-induced bimodal aerosol in an air-conditioned space

Bo Zhang, Guangyu Guo, Chao Zhu, Zhiming Ji, Chao Hsin Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Aerosol generated from a human cough can be a potential major indoor health risk due to the possible transmission of infectious respiratory diseases to surrounding individuals within the same room and even could spread out via air-ventilation/conditioning systems. This study aims to investigate the transport characteristics and trajectory of coughed aerosols under the influence of conditioned air ventilation as well as near-by human breathing zone using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). An experimental system consisting of air-conditioned space with multiple inlets and outlets, a cough simulator and a receiver was built to validate the CFD predictions. The comparison is in good agreement. The CFD model was established as a transient three-dimensional multiphase multicomponent Eulerian–Lagrangian model and numerically solved using commercial software ANSYS Fluent. Both gas and liquid phases were modelled as multicomponent mixtures. With this CFD model, the indoor transport and trajectory of coughed aerosols can be accounted for the distributions of portions inhaled by each manikin, deposited on surfaces of manikins and chamber walls, as well as recirculated back into the ventilation system. Results reveal that the aerosol source location and the ambient air movement can be crucial factors of aerosol trajectory in terms of direct and indirect influence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1546-1567
Number of pages22
JournalIndoor and Built Environment
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


  • Aerosol
  • Air-conditioned space
  • Cough
  • Multicomponent
  • Multiphase
  • Transmission of respiratory disease


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