Corona Virus spread in a Car due to the Cough of the Driver 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 spread of virus particles from the mouth of a corona carrier patient inside a car.

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Project Description

Corona virus (COVID19) is known as the biggest human challenge in the world today and the high transmission rate of this disease is very problematic. Coughing or sneezing of a COVID 19 person without a mask can spread the virus of the corona in that space. One of the important recommendations of doctors regarding preventing the transmission of disease between people is to maintain social distance between people in small closed spaces. The interior of a passenger car can transmit the virus to its occupants. In this project, based on the CFD method and using ANSYS Fluent software, an attempt has been made to simulate the release of virus particles from the mouth of a corona carrier patient inside the interior of a car.

The purpose of this study is to investigate the diffusion power of virus particles inside the car interior. For the present simulation, the discrete phase model (DPM) is used; Because this model allows us to study a mass of particles discretely or bit by bit in a continuously fluid space. Due to the choice of this model, the wet particles of the virus secreted from the patient’s mouth are considered as a discrete phase and the air flow inside the car is considered as a continuous phase. The physical models of discrete particles defined in this simulation include two-way turbulence coupling meaning the two-way interaction between continuous and discrete phase by activating the interaction mode with continuous phase.

Project Description

Discrete phase also affects the continuous phase, stochastic collision means irregular droplets collide with each other, coalescence means droplets combine with each other, and breakup 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). 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, injection particles are defined as droplet; Thus, water is defined as droplets and water vapor is defined as an evaporating gas species.

The injection is performed superficially and through the surface of the patient’s mouth. According to this definition of injection, human cough virus particles are physically expelled from the patient’s mouth by water droplets that are evaporating in space. These virus droplets have a temperature of 310 K, a velocity of 30 m.s-1, and a flow rate of 0.012 kg.s-1, which are emitted at time interval of 0 s to 0.1 s. The particle diameter of the virus is not constant during propagation and the rosin-rammler-logamethric distribution method is considered for the size of the diameters.

Project Description

Following this method and following the relevant formulation, the values related to the minimum, maximum and average diameter size should be determine the exponential parameter of the spread and the number of diameters per injection. It should be noted that the Droplet mode is applied when the species transport model is also activated. In this model, the species transport model including three different gases such as oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2) and water vapor (H2O) are activated. The air will be the main fluid in the computational domain.

The boundary conditions of the discrete phase model are defined as particles at the boundary of the patient’s mouth having a Escape state means particles passing through this boundary, and at the boundaries of the patient’s body and all the interior walls of the vehicle having a Trap state. It means that particles are trapped and accumulate in these boundaries. The present transient simulation process is performed in a time interval for s0.25 with a time step equal to 0.0025 s.


Car Geometry & Mesh

The present model is designed in three dimensions using Design Modeler software. The geometry of the model involves a car, but since the purpose of this work is to investigate the behavior of discrete virus particles inside the car, only the interior cabin space is defined as the computing area. A person is also designed as a car driver in a car seat, which is defined as the source of the cough virus. Hence, the surface of the patient’s human mouth is differentiated by the mouth boundary condition; Because this surface is assumed as the reference level of discrete phase virus release in this model.


We did the meshing of the model using ANSYS Meshing software and the mesh type is unstructured. The element number is 290403. The following figure shows the mesh.


Corona Spread in a Car CFD Simulation

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 the particle tracking 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.

The following table represents a summary of the defining steps of the problem and its solution:

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
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 26 m.s-1
total flow rate 0.012 kg.s-1
Energy On
Boundary conditions
Walls of Car Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions trap
Mouth of man Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions escape
Two Men Body Wall
wall motion stationary wall
heat flux 0 W.m-2
discrete phase conditions reflect
Pressure-velocity coupling Coupled
pressure second order
momentum first order upwind
H2O first order upwind
O2 first order upwind
energy first order upwind
Initialization methods Hybrid


At the end of the solution process, we obtain a particle tracking of the virus particles at different time intervals. This particle sequence is based on the residence time of the particles and the size of the particle diameter.

There is a mesh file in this product. By the way, the Training File presents how to solve the problem and extract all desired results.


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