Experimental and numerical investigation of airflow and contaminant transport in an airliner cabin mockup

Zhao Zhang, Xi Chen, Sagnik Mazumdar, Tengfei Zhang, Qingyan Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

274 Citations (Scopus)


The study of airflow and contaminant transport in airliner cabins is very important for creating a comfortable and healthy environment. This paper shows the results of such a study by conducting experimental measurements and numerical simulations of airflow and contaminant transport in a section of half occupied, twin-aisle cabin mockup. The air velocity and air temperature were measured by ultrasonic and omni-directional anemometers. A gaseous contaminant was simulated by a tracer gas, sulfur hexafluoride or SF6, and measured by a photo-acoustic multi-gas analyzer. A particulate contaminant was simulated by 0.7 μm di-ethyl-hexyl-sebacat (DEHS) particles and measured by an optical particle sizer. The numerical simulations used the Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes equations based on the RNG k-ε model to solve the air velocity, air temperature, and gas contaminant concentration; and employed a Lagrangian method to model the particle transport. The numerical results quantitatively agreed with the experimental data while some remarkable differences exist in airflow distributions. Both the experimental measurements and computer simulations were not free from errors. A complete and accurate validation for a complicated cabin environment is challenging and difficult.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-94
Number of pages10
JournalBuilding and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2009


  • Aircraft cabin
  • Airflow
  • CFD
  • Measurements
  • Transport and dispersion of aerosol contaminants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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