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Current Affairs

Dispersion of human droplets

Date: 09 August 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

Amid concerns about possible aerosol transmission of Covid-19, a new study has stressed the importance of a better understanding of different droplet behaviours, and their different dispersion mechanisms based on size.

 

Background

Covid-19 has revealed gaps in knowledge about the physics of transmission, including a simple description of where individual droplets go when ejected.

 

Details

  • The study presents a mathematical model that clearly demarcates small-, intermediate- and large-sized droplets. Simple formulas can be used to determine a droplet’s maximum range.

  • As a person breathes, they emit droplets of various sizes that don’t necessarily follow the airflow faithfully.

  • The researchers said the study provides a general framework to understand the droplet dispersion. They provide formulas to predict when droplets will have short ranges.

  • Evaporation and dispersion of airborne sputum droplets originating from a human cough are simulated using this model combined with an initially buoyant turbulent jet.

  • Effects of these chemical components on evaporation rate, velocity, and temperature of droplets are investigated in detail.

  • Constituents of sputum droplets such as NaCl, amino acids, carbohydrates, and lipids are included.

  • The results obtained for sputum droplets will provide a perspective of what conditions the viruses within a droplet might face upon being ejected from the mouth during a cough.

  • The droplet temperature decreases rapidly from human body temperature to room temperature, which may affect the viability of any carried virus.