Optimal sensor placement for airborne contaminant detection in an aircraft cabin

Tengfei Zhang, Qingyan Yan Chen, Chao Hsin Lin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


To monitor cabin air quality, infectious disease transmission, and intentional airborne contaminant releases in commercial aircraft cabins, it is necessary to place contaminant sensors in the cabins. Such sensors are often expensive, heavy, and bulky, so they cannot be deployed in large quantity. This study used a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program to study how a limited amount of sensors should be placed in an airliner cabin. This investigation first validated the CFD program with the experimental data of an airborne contaminant simulated by a tracer gas, air velocity, and air temperature distribution obtained from a mock-up of a twin-aisle aircraft cabin. Then the validated CFD program was used to study contaminant transport in a nine-row section of a Boeing 767 aircraft cabin with airborne contaminants released under different scenarios. By assuming different contaminant release rates and sensor sensitivities, the optimal sensor location and number were determined. It was found that the best location for a sensor is in the middle of the ceiling. The sensor detection capability depended on the contaminant source release rate and time as well as the sensor sensitivity. To detect contaminants effectively, this study also proposed a multiple-point sampler for each row.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-696
Number of pages14
JournalHVAC and R Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction


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