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Corona Virus Patients Breathing in an Airplane CFD Simulation

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In this project, based on the CFD method and using ANSYS Fluent software, an attempt has been made to simulate the respiration of viral air from the mouths of several patients carrying corona virus in the airplane cabin.

This ANSYS Fluent project includes CFD simulation files and a training movie.

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Description

Corona Virus Patients Breathing in an Airplane Project Description

Corona virus (COVID-19) is currently recognized as the greatest human challenge in the world; Because this disease, in addition to being dangerous to human health, has a high transmission power between a sick person and healthy people. Breathing of a patent person without mask into an enclosed space can transmit the disease to nearby people. One of the important recommendations of doctors regarding the prevention of disease transmission between people is to maintain social distance in different places, including public transportation.

For example, the short distance between the passenger seats of an airplane can increase the likelihood of transmitting corona virus from a carrier to other nearby people. In this project, based on the CFD method and using ANSYS Fluent software, an attempt has been made to simulate the respiration of viral air from the mouths of several patients carrying corona virus in the aircraft. This model includes a computational domain in the form of an airplane and seats inside it, on each of which a passenger is modeled.

For each of these passengers, a surface is defined as the mouth as the source of respiration and transmission of the corona virus. The purpose of this study is to investigate the transmission of the corona virus between passengers caused by breathing at short distances. For the present simulation, the discrete phase model (DPM) is used; Because this model allows us to study a mass of particles discretely in a continuous fluid flow.

According to the selection of this model, the wet particles of the virus with a density of 1000 kg.m-3 and a specific heat capacity of 1680 j.kg-1K-1 and a viscosity of 0.000172 kg.m-1.s-1 and a droplet surface tension of 0.03 nm- 1 is secreted from the patient’s mouth while breathing. The discrete phase corresponding to the virus particles is defined in the temporally steady state. After activating the discrete phase model, the INJECTION process must be defined, which determines the type and quality of discrete particles injected into the model.

In this model, the virus particles are defined as INERT particles and the injection type is SURFACE and through the inner surface of the mouth of each passenger (inlet-mouth). According to this definition of injection, virus particles have a diameter of 0.000001 m, a temperature of 308 K, a velocity of 0.05 m.s-1, and a flow rate of 0.0000221 kg.s-1. The boundary conditions of the discrete phase model are defined as particles at the boundaries of the patient’s mouth and the inlet and outlet sections of the ventilated airflow in the aircraft having an ESCAPE mode, meaning that the particles pass through these boundaries.

At the boundary of the body and the side walls of the aircraft, a REFLECT state meaning the reflection of particles that collide with this boundary, and at the boundary of the aircraft floor have a TRAP mode meaning that particles are trapped and accumulate at this boundary. Also, the air conditioning and air circulation system inside the aircraft is such that fresh air flows as a continuous fluid from the part installed on the ceiling of the airplane with a speed of 2.36 ms-1 and a temperature of 292.65 K.

Also, from two parts installed on both sides of the aircraft have a speed of 0.3 ms-1 and a temperature of 292.65 K and enter from the installed sections under the seat of each passenger of the aircraft with a speed of 0.59 ms-1 and a temperature of 292.65 K; While the old air flow inside the airplane exits the two outlets on the lower two sides of the aircraft to the outside environment with a pressure equivalent to atmospheric pressure.

Airplane Geometry & Mesh

The present model is designed in three dimensions using Design Modeler software. The geometry of the model includes the interior of an airplane with a length and width of 8.5 m and 3.97 m and a height of 2.2 m. Inside the aircraft, several rows of seats with a passenger sitting on it are designed. This designed airplane has several sections for the entry of fresh air flow, which includes an entrance section on the roof of the aircraft and two entrance sections on the upper two sides of the aircraft and several sections installed under the seat of each passenger, and also two exit sections on the lower two sides of the airplane.

Also, for each passenger, a boundary is defined as the mouth, where the patient breathes polluted air.

corona virus

The meshing of the model has been done using ANSYS Meshing software and the mesh type is unstructured. The element number is 1316384. The following figure shows the mesh.

corona virus

Corona Virus Patients Breathing in an Airplane CFD Simulation

To simulate the present model, several assumptions are considered:

  • We perform a pressure-based solver.
  • The simulation is steady.
  • The gravity effect on the fluid is equal to -9.81 m.s-2 along the Y-axis.

A summary of the defining steps of the problem and its solution is given in the following table:

Models (corona virus)
Viscous k-epsilon
k-epsilon model realizable
near-wall treatment standard wall function
Discrete phase model On
particle treatment steady particle tracking
Injection active
injection type inert
release from surfaces inlet-mouth
diameter 0.000001 m
temperature 308 K
velocity magnitude 0.05 m.s-1
total flow rate 0.0000221 kg.s-1
Energy On
Boundary conditions (corona virus)
Around Walls Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions reflect
Floor Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions trap
Inlet-Side Velocity Inlet
velocity magnitude 2.36 m.s-1
temperature 292.65 K
discrete phase conditions escape
Inlet-Up Velocity Inlet
velocity magnitude 0.3 m.s-1
(corona virus) temperature 292.65 K
discrete phase conditions escape
Inlet-Ventilation Velocity Inlet
velocity magnitude 0.59 m.s-1
temperature 292.65 K
discrete phase conditions escape
Inlet-mouth Velocity Inlet
velocity magnitude 0.05 m.s-1
temperature 308 K
discrete phase conditions escape
Outlet-Air Pressure Outlet
gauge pressure 0 Pascal
discrete phase conditions escape
Wall-People & Chairs Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions trap
Methods (corona virus)
Pressure-velocity coupling SIMPLE
pressure second order
momentum second order upwind
turbulent kinetic energy first order upwind
turbulent dissipation rate first order upwind
energy second order upwind
Initialization (corona virus)
Initialization methods Hybrid

Results

At the end of the solution process, corona virus particle tracking is obtained based on residence time, as well as three-dimensional contours of temperature and air velocity inside the airplane.

All files, including Geometry, Mesh, Case & Data, are available in Simulation File. By the way, Training File presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.

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