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Corona Virus Spread due to a Cough in Open Air

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In this project the spread of the corona virus due to a cough in the open air is simulated.

This product includes a Mesh file and a comprehensive Training Movie.

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Corona Virus Project Description

Today, the whole world is facing one of the biggest and most fundamental human challenges called corona disease (Covid 19). The main and dangerous problem of this disease is its high contagious power from an ill to a healthy person. The main way the disease is transmitted from person to person is through viruses in the patient’s oral and nasal secretions. For this reason, doctors recommend that shake hand and hugging be severely prevented; But one of the problems is the spread of the virus of this disease through the patient’s cough and sneezing in space.

This spreads the virus particles in the open air and can infect a person at a certain distance from the patient. Therefore, one of the most up-to-date topics that researchers are constantly researching is calculating and examining the minimum appropriate distance between a sick person and a healthy person to prevent the spread and transmission of viruses when a patient coughs or sneezes called social distancing or physical distancing. Now, based on the CFD method and using ANSYS Fluent software, it is possible to simulate the release of corona virus particles from the patient’s mouth during coughing.

This model involves a human placed in a cube-shaped computational domain as open air, and the human mouth is distinguished as a source of virus transmission. To simulate this model, a discrete phase model must be used. This model allows us to study a set of discrete particles in a continuous fluid space . In this model, the wet particles of the virus secreted from the patient’s mouth are defined as a discrete phase and the airflow as a continuous phase in space.

corona virus

Project Description

Physical models of these discrete particles include two-way turbulence coupling, meaning the effect and interaction between the continuous and discrete phase by activating the interaction with continuous phase mode, Discrete phase also affects the continuous phase, stochastic collision means irregular droplets colliding with each other, coalescence means droplets merging with each other, and breakup that means the collapse of the droplets. Also, the type of discrete phase behavior will be time dependent and with a time step of 0.001 s (by activating the unsteady particle tracking mode).

By activating the discrete phase model, it is time to define the injection process, which determines the type and quality of discrete particles injected into the model. In this model, injection particles are defined as droplet; Thus, water is defined as a droplet material and water vapor is defined as an evaporating gas. The injection is performed superficially and through the inner surface of the patient’s mouth (inlet-mouth). According to this definition of injection, virus particles from human cough are physically expelled from the mouth by water droplets that are evaporating in space.

These droplets have a temperature of 310 K, a velocity of 31.85 m.s-1, and a flow rate of 0.018 kg.s-1, which are emitted in the interval of 0 s to 0.1 s. The diameters of these particles are not constant and equal to each other, and therefore, the rosin-rammler-logamethric distribution method is considered for the size of the diameters. Determine the minimum, maximum and middle diameter size, spread parameter and the number of diameters per injection. It should be noted that the droplet mode is applied when the species model is enabled.

corona virus

Project Description

In this model, the mode of species transport is activated in order to simulate the droplet and evaporation, and thus the working space of the model around the patient will have the airflow. The boundary conditions of the model are defined as ESCAPE for particles at the boundaries of the mouth and the walls around the space, means that the particles pass through these boundaries, at the boundary of the body with a REFLECTION state, means the reflection of particles that collide with this boundary, and at the boundary of the earth they have a TRAP state, meaning that particles are trapped and accumulate at this boundary.

Also, the type of boundary condition for the boundary walls of the patient’s surrounding space is defined as pressure outlet and the type of boundary condition for other boundaries is defined as the wall. The process of this simulation was performed at a time interval of 1.75 s, with a time step size of 0.1 s from the beginning of this period, the virus was spread through coughing. The following figure shows a schematic of the problem model.

corona virus

Geometry & Mesh

The present 3-D model is designed using SOLIDWORKS and Design Modeler software. The model geometry consists of a human with a in a standing position, which is located within a certain computational space containing air flow. The space around a human consists of a rectangular cube measuring 3 m * 3.5 m * 2.8 m, which represents a part of the open air around the person’s body. This free space is intended to study the distribution of wet viral particles released from the mouth.

The surface of the patient’s mouth is distinguished by an inlet-mouth boundary condition; Because this surface is assumed as the discrete phase virus release in this model. The following figure shows a view of the geometry.

corona virus

The meshing of the model has been done using ANSYS Meshing software and the mesh type is unstructured. The accuracy of the mesh is higher in areas close to the patient’s mouth than elsewhere. The element number is 584587 . The following figure shows the mesh.

corona virus

Corona Virus CFD Simulation Setting

To simulate the present model, we consider several assumptions:

  • We perform a pressure-based solver.
  • The simulation is unsteady. Because the purpose of the problem is to track the particles related to the discrete phase over time.
  • The gravity effect on the fluid is equal to -9.81 m.s-2 along the z-axis.

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

Models (Covid 19)
Viscous k-epsilon
k-epsilon model RNG
near-wall treatment standard wall function
Species model Species transport
number of volumetric species 3 (H2O,O2,N2)
Discrete phase model On
interaction interaction with continuous phase
(Corona Virus) particle treatment unsteady particle tracking
physical models two-way turbulence coupling
stochastic collision
Injection active
injection type droplet
release from surfaces inlet-mouth
material water-liquid
evaporating species H2O
diameter distribution rosin-rommler-logarithmic
point properties temperature 310 K
velocity 31.85 m.s-1
total flow rate 0.018 kg.s-1
Energy On
Boundary conditions (Covid 19)
Floor Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions trap
Around Pressure outlet
gauge pressure 0 Pascal
discrete phase conditions escape
Inlet-mouth Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions escape
Man body Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions reflect
Methods (Covid 19)
Pressure-velocity coupling Coupled
pressure second order
momentum first order upwind
H2O first order upwind
O2 first order upwind
energy first order upwind
Initialization (Covid 19)
Initialization methods Hybrid

Corona Virus Results

At the end of the solution process, we obtain the particle tracking of the virus particles. This particle sequence is based on the output resistance time. We take out the animation of the virus release and its disappearance over time. Also, we obtain and present the images related to the virus particle sequence at different times. The results show the spread of the virus during the patient’s cough, which occurs in the open air over a period of 0.1 s to 1.75 s.

There are a Mesh file and a comprehensive Training Movie that presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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