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Prof. Rainald Löhner explains flow of COVID particles in airplanes

Published: 19/04/2021

Propagation- new york times

Rainald Löhner, a professor of computational fluid dynamics at George Mason University in the US and a regular visiting scientist in CIMNE, has explained how the ventilation system of airplanes ensures air quality and prevents the propagations of pathogen particles (such as COVID19 particles) within a plane cabin.

The explanation is based on the simulations of the transport in air of droplet particles induced by persons sneezing and/or coughing in an airplane cabin using computational fluid dynamics methods and software developed by Prof. Löhner.

The details of the simulation approach can be seen in these recent publications of Prof. Löhner and his group in the US in cooperation with Profs. Sergio Idelsohn and Eugenio Oñate at CIMNE:

  • High fidelity simulations of pathogen propagation, transmission and mitigation in the buil environment by Rainald Löhner, Harbir Antil, Ashok Srinivasan, Sergio Idelsohn and Eugenio Oñate, Archives for Computational Methods in Engineering. In press. To be published in 2021
  • Detailed simulation of viral propagation in the built environment by Rinalda Löhner, Harbir Antil, Sergio Idelsohn  and Eugenio Oñate, Computational Mechanics 66 (5), 1093-1107, 2020

An animated view of the principles of air ventilation in airplanes explained by Prof. Löhner can be seen in this article published in the New York Times on April 17, 2021.

The figures below show snapshots of the simulations of the air flow in an airplane.