Modeling particle dispersion and deposition in indoor environments

N. P. Gao, Jianlei Niu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

206 Citations (Scopus)


Particle dispersion and deposition in man-made enclosed environments are closely related to the well-being of occupants. The present study developed a three-dimensional drift-flux model for particle movements in turbulent indoor airflows, and combined it into Eulerian approaches. To account for the process of particle deposition at solid boundaries, a semi-empirical deposition model was adopted in which the size-dependent deposition characteristics were well resolved. After validation against the experimental data in a scaled isothermal chamber and in a full-scale non-isothermal environmental chamber, the drift-flux model was used to investigate the deposition rates and human exposures to particles from two different sources with three typical ventilation systems: mixing ventilation (MV), displacement ventilation (DV), and under-floor air distribution (UFAD). For particles originating from the supply air, a V-shaped curve of the deposition velocity variation as a function of particle size was observed. The minimum deposition appeared at 0.1-0.5 μ m. For supermicron particles, the ventilation type and air exchange rate had an ignorable effect on the deposition rate. The movements of submicron particles were like tracer gases while the gravitational settling effect should be taken into account for particles larger than 2.5 μ m. The temporal increment of human exposure to a step-up particle release in the supply air was determined, among many factors, by the distance between the occupant and air outlet. The larger the particle size, the lower the human exposure. For particles released from an internal heat source, the concentration stratification of small particles (diameter < 10 μ m) in the vertical direction appeared with DV and UFAD, and it was found the advantageous principle for gaseous pollutants that a relatively less-polluted occupied zone existed in DV and UFAD was also applicable to small particles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3862-3876
Number of pages15
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2007


  • Deposition
  • Dispersion
  • Drift-flux model
  • Exposure
  • Particles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution


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