During the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are wondering if it is safe to return to life at the office and daily routines. In this simulation, we show the spread of potentially contaminated bodily fluids within an air-conditioned office space.
When a person sneezes, contaminated particles, including aerosols, are projected into the surrounding space.
Particles may be carried up to three feet (or one meter) by the turbulent airflow generated by the sneeze and heavy particles from the sneeze fall to the floor.
Within an office building, the particle spread can be enhanced by the central heating and air used to control the temperature and ensure employee comfort.
The deposition of bodily fluids on surfaces can then be observed using the simulation results with colored maps on the surface (blue for low concentration, red for high concentration).
Droplets, which are identified in the simulation as small blue and green particles in the air, can be as small as the virus itself – called aerosols – and remain in suspension in the air, potentially getting carried across the room or into the ventilation system by the airflow of the central air.
This simulation supports the finding that if viruses can be aerosolized, they can potentially be redistributed throughout office building ventilation systems. Published research on water droplet size distribution emitted by a sneeze is used as a starting point for our simulations.
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