Numerical modeling of exhaled droplet nuclei dispersion and mixing in indoor environments

Kwok Wai Mui, Ling Tim Wong, C. L. Wu, Alvin C K Lai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing incidence of indoor airborne infections has prompted attention upon the investigation of expiratory droplet dispersion and transport in built environments. In this study, a source (i.e. a patient who generates droplets) and a receiver (i.e. a susceptible object other than the source) are modeled in a mechanically ventilated room. The receiver's exposure to the droplet nuclei is analyzed under two orientations relative to the source. Two droplet nuclei, 0.1 and 10 μm, with different emission velocities, are selected to represent large expiratory droplets which can still be inhaled into the human respiratory tracts. The droplet dispersion and mixing characteristics under well-mixed and displacement ventilation schemes are evaluated and compared numerically. Results show that the droplet dispersion and mixing under displacement ventilation is consistently poorer. Very low concentration regions are also observed in the displacement scheme. For both ventilation schemes, the intake dose will be reduced substantially if the droplets are emitted under the face-to-wall orientation rather than the face-to-face orientation. Implications of using engineering strategies for reducing exposure are briefly discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)736-744
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2009


  • Drift-flux model
  • Mixing
  • Particle dispersion
  • Ventilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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