An investigation for airflow and deposition of PM2.5 contaminated with SAR-CoV-2 virus in healthy and diseased human airway

Wei Hsin Chen, Justus Kavita Mutuku, Zhe Wei Yang, Chii Jong Hwang, Wen Jhy Lee, Veeramuthu Ashokkumar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study is motivated by the amplified transmission rates of the SAR-CoV-2 virus in areas with high concentrations of fine particulates (PM2.5) as reported in northern Italy and Mexico. To develop a deeper understanding of the contribution of PM2.5 in the propagation of the SAR-CoV-2 virus in the population, the deposition patterns and efficiencies (DEs) of PM2.5 laced with the virus in healthy and asthmatic airways are studied. Physiologically correct 3-D models for generations 10–12 of the human airways are applied to carry out a numerical analysis of two-phase flow for full breathing cycles. Two concentrations of PM2.5 are applied for the simulation, i.e., 30 μg⋅m−3 and 80 μg⋅m−3 for three breathing statuses, i.e., rest, light exercise, and moderate activity. All the PM2.5 injected into the control volume is assumed to be 100% contaminated with the SAR-CoV-2 virus. Skewed air-flow phenomena at the bifurcations are proportional to the Reynolds number at the inlet, and their intensity in the asthmatic airway exceeded that of the healthy one. Upon exhalation, two peak air-flow vectors from daughter branches combine to form one big vector in the parent generation. Asthmatic airway models has higher deposition efficiencies (DEs) for contaminated PM2.5 as compared to the healthy one. Higher DEs arise in the asthmatic airway model due to complex secondary flows which increase the impaction of contaminated PM2.5 on airways’ walls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111096
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume197
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Jun

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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