‘How airflow inside car may affect COVID-19 transmission risk decoded’


Team Udayavani, Dec 5, 2020, 1:41 PM IST

Boston: Using computer simulations, scientists have analysed the airflow patterns inside a car”s passenger cabin, shedding light on the potential ways to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission while sharing rides with others.

The study, published in the journal Science Advances, assessed the airflow inside a compact car with various combinations of windows open or closed.

According to the researchers, including those from Brown University in the US, the simulations showed that opening windows created airflow patterns that dramatically reduced the concentration of airborne aerosol particles exchanged between a driver and a single passenger.

However, they said blasting the car”s ventilation system didn”t circulate air nearly as well as a few open windows.

“Driving around with the windows up and the air conditioning or heat on is definitely the worst scenario, according to our computer simulations,” said Asimanshu Das, co-lead author of the research from Brown university.

“The best scenario we found was having all four windows open, but even having one or two open was far better than having them all closed,” Das said.

While there”s no way to eliminate risk completely, and current guidelines recommend postponing travel, the scientists said the goal of the study was simply to assess how changes in airflow inside a car may worsen or reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission.

In the research, the computer models simulated a car, loosely based on a Toyota Prius, with two people inside — a driver, and a passenger sitting in the back seat on the opposite side from the driver.

The scientists said they chose this seating arrangement since it maximised the physical distance between the two people.

Since the novel coronavirus is thought to spread via tiny aerosol particles that can linger in the air for extended periods of time, the researchers simulated airflow around and inside a car moving at 50 miles per hour.

Part of the reason opening windows is better in terms of aerosol transmission is because it increases the number of air changes per hour (ACH) inside the car that reduces the overall concentration of aerosols, the study noted.

The scientists showed that different combinations of open windows created different air currents inside the car that could either increase or decrease exposure to remaining aerosols.

Since the occupants in the simulations were sitting on opposite sides of the cabin, they said very few particles ended up being transferred between the two.

According to the research, the driver was at slightly higher risk than the passenger since the average airflow in the car goes from back to front, but added that both occupants experience a dramatically lower transfer of particles.

When some — but not all — windows were down, the study yielded counterintuitive results.

Citing an example of one such instance, the scientists said opening the windows next to each occupant carried a higher exposure risk, compared to putting down the window opposite each occupant.

“When the windows opposite the occupants are open, you get a flow that enters the car behind the driver, sweeps across the cabin behind the passenger and then goes out the passenger-side front window,” said Kenny Breuer, a professor of engineering at Brown University and a senior author of the research.

“That pattern helps to reduce cross-contamination between the driver and passenger,” Breuer said.

The scientists said airflow adjustments are no substitute for mask-wearing by both occupants when inside a car, adding that the findings are limited to potential exposure to lingering aerosols that may contain pathogens.

Citing another limitation of the study, the scientists said it did not model larger respiratory droplets or the risk of actually becoming infected by the virus.

However, they said the findings provide valuable new insights into air circulation patterns inside a car”s passenger compartment.

Udayavani is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest news.

Top News

Rain Alert: Widespread rain expected in K’taka coastal districts until July 25

Mumbai sees heavy showers; flights diverted, waterlogging in many areas

No negligence or delay in rescue operation, Karnataka CM asserts after visiting landslide-hit area

Cybercrooks are no tech geeks but most are smart storytellers: DCP Cyber Crime

All-party meet: Oppn raises eatery, NEET rows; govt calls for smooth running of Parliament

India had its own prime meridian passing through Ujjain: New NCERT textbook

Leander Paes, Vijay Amritraj inducted into Tennis Hall of Fame

Related Articles More

Burden of lung diseases in India likely much higher than Lancet study’s projection: Doctors

How a century-old drug could revolutionise cobra bite treatment

Physical exercise triggers allergic reaction to certain foods

Want the health benefits of strength training but not keen on the gym? Try ‘exercise snacking’

Dengue cases in Karnataka cross 10,000 mark

MUST WATCH

Brahma Kumaris

Tapta Mudra Dharana

Banana Farming

Aghnashini River

Dr. Rajkumar


Latest Additions

Rain Alert: Widespread rain expected in K’taka coastal districts until July 25

Seven held by Delhi police for duping man of Rs 91 lakh in crypto fraud

Mumbai sees heavy showers; flights diverted, waterlogging in many areas

Kerala issues special guidelines for treatment of amoebic meningoencephalitis

Over 11,000 NEET-UG candidates scored zero or negative marks

Thanks for visiting Udayavani

You seem to have an Ad Blocker on.
To continue reading, please turn it off or whitelist Udayavani.