Influencing factors in the simulation of airflow and particle transportation in aircraft cabins by CFD

Qing Cao, Mingxin Liu, Xingyang Li, Chao Hsin Lin, Daniel Wei, Shengcheng Ji, Tengfei (Tim) Zhang, Qingyan Chen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


To control the transport of particles such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus in airliner cabins, which is a significant concern for the flying public, effective ventilation systems are essential. Validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models are frequently and effectively used to investigate air distribution and contaminant transportation. The complex geometry and airflow characteristics in airliner cabins pose a challenge to numerical CFD validation. The objective of this investigation was to identify accurate and affordable validation processes for studying the airflow field and particulate contaminant distribution in airliner cabins during the design process for different ventilation systems. This study quantitatively evaluated the effects of ventilation system, turbulence model, particle simulation method, geometry simplification, and boundary condition assignment on airflow and particulate distributions in airliner cabins with either a mixing ventilation (MV) system or a displacement ventilation (DV) system calculated by CFD. The results showed that among four turbulence models, the standard k-ε, RNG k-ε, realizable k-ε and SST k-ω models, the prediction by the realizable k-ε model agreed most closely with the experimental data. Meanwhile, the steady Eulerian method provided a reasonable prediction of the particle concentration field with low computing cost. The computational domain should be simplified differently for the DV system and the MV system with consideration of the simulation accuracy and computing cost. For more accurate modeling results, the boundary conditions should be assigned in greater detail, taking into account the uniformity on the boundary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108413
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Airliner cabin
  • CFD
  • Displacement ventilation
  • Mixing ventilation
  • Particle transport
  • Validation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Influencing factors in the simulation of airflow and particle transportation in aircraft cabins by CFD'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this