Flow dynamics and characterization of a cough

J. K. Gupta, C. H. Lin, Q. Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

444 Citations (Scopus)


Airborne disease transmission has always been a topic of wide interests in various fields for decades. Cough is found to be one of the prime sources of airborne diseases as it has high velocity and large quantity of droplets. To understand and characterize the flow dynamics of a cough can help to control the airborne disease transmission. This study has measured flow dynamics of coughs with human subjects. The flow rate variation of a cough with time can be represented as a combination of gamma-probability-distribution functions. The variables needed to define the gamma-probability-distribution functions can be represented by some medical parameters. A robust multiple linear regression analysis indicated that these medical parameters can be obtained from the physiological details of a person. However, the jet direction and mouth opening area during a cough seemed not related to the physiological parameters of the human subjects. Combining the flow characteristics reported in this study with appropriate virus and droplet distribution information, the infectious source strength by coughing can be evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-525
Number of pages9
JournalIndoor Air
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Airborne infection
  • Airflow
  • Modeling
  • Mouth opening
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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