IIT Delhi researchers use fluid dynamics to understand spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces

Researchers have established the role of aerosol dispersal in the spread of COVID19. (Image Credit: Alexandra_Koch/Unsplash).

The researchers simulated airflow in two IIT Delhi classrooms.

In one of the first studies of its kind, researchers from IIT Delhi have used fluid dynamics to model the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces. The researchers have demonstrated a procedure for estimating the probability of infection of a healthy person sharing the same indoor space with an individual infected with COVID-19, breathing out pathogens. There has been a lack of data to quantify the role played by the breathing out of the viral particles in the spread of SARS-CoV-2, despite many indications of its culpability since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers have established the role of aerosol dispersal in the spread of COVID-19.

The researchers modelled the spread of the disease in IIT Delhi classrooms. (Image Credit: IIT Delhi).

A paper describing the findings has been published in the Physics of Fluids. Lead author of the paper, Praveen Sharma says, “We correlated the pathogen density exhaled by a SARS-Cov-2 infected person to its spread in the indoor space. We analyzed the effect of number of air changes per hour and the placement of inlet and exit ducts in the room on the spread of the pathogen. Our simulations incorporated the time-periodic inhalation-exhalation cycle of the infected occupant to mimic a realistic scenario.”

Velocity magnitude contours for the classroom. (Image Credit: IIT Delhi).

The findings are applicable to other similar airborne pathogens and the diseases caused by them. The researchers performed realistic fluid dynamics simulations in two IIT Delhi classrooms filled with a large number of occupants. The simulations were then used to compute the dispersal of SARS-Cov-2 viral particles, as well as the likelihood of individuals seated at various locations in the classroom. Turbulence in the air allowed the spread of the viral particles to all parts of the classroom. The research provides support to the one-metre-distance rule, which reduces the risk of infection by a high-emitter.


Source link