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Role of pathogen-laden expiratory droplet dispersion and natural ventilation explaining a COVID-19 outbreak in a coach bus

Luo, Q., Ou, C., Hang, J., Luo, Z. ORCID:, Yang, H., Yang, X., Zhang, X., Li, Y. and Fan, X. 2022. Role of pathogen-laden expiratory droplet dispersion and natural ventilation explaining a COVID-19 outbreak in a coach bus. Building and Environment 220 , 109160. 10.1016/j.buildenv.2022.109160

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The influencing mechanism of droplet transmissions inside crowded and poorly ventilated buses on infection risks of respiratory diseases is still unclear. Based on experiments of one-infecting-seven COVID-19 outbreak with an index patient at bus rear, we conducted CFD simulations to investigate integrated effects of initial droplet diameters(tracer gas, 5 μm, 50 μm and 100 μm), natural air change rates per hour(ACH = 0.62, 2.27 and 5.66 h−1 related to bus speeds) and relative humidity(RH = 35% and 95%) on pathogen-laden droplet dispersion and infection risks. Outdoor pressure difference around bus surfaces introduces natural ventilation airflow entering from bus-rear skylight and leaving from the front one. When ACH = 0.62 h−1(idling state), the 30-min-exposure infection risk(TIR) of tracer gas is 15.3%(bus rear) - 11.1%(bus front), and decreases to 3.1%(bus rear)-1.3%(bus front) under ACH = 5.66 h−1(high bus speed).The TIR of large droplets(i.e., 100 μm/50 μm) is almost independent of ACH, with a peak value(∼3.1%) near the index patient, because over 99.5%/97.0% of droplets deposit locally due to gravity. Moreover, 5 μm droplets can disperse further with the increasing ventilation. However, TIR for 5 μm droplets at ACH = 5.66 h−1 stays relatively small for rear passengers(maximum 0.4%), and is even smaller in the bus middle and front(<0.1%). This study verifies that differing from general rooms, most 5 μm droplets deposit on the route through the long-and-narrow bus space with large-area surfaces(L∼11.4 m). Therefore, tracer gas can only simulate fine droplet with little deposition but cannot replace 5–100 μm droplet dispersion in coach buses.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0360-1323
Date of Acceptance: 30 April 2022
Last Modified: 10 Nov 2022 11:46

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