Physics of Infectious Disease

Synthetic Sneeze Streaks

Masks Work!

Contributing members

We are investigating how infectious viral disease such as influenza and COVID-19 spread with experiments and physical modeling.

A link to Brian Chang's presentation on our group's research can be found on YouTube. Also, see the ClarkNow press article which discussed his research.

A preprint is out on our work:

Aerial mucosalivary droplet dispersal distributions with implications for disease mitigation, Brian Chang, Ram Sudhir Sharma, Trinh Huynh, and Arshad Kudrolli

Abstract: We investigate mucosalivary dispersal and deposition on horizontal surfaces corresponding to human exhalations with physical experiments under still-air conditions. Synthetic fluorescence tagged sprays with size and speed distributions comparable to human sneezes are observed with high-speed imaging. We show that while some larger droplets follow parabolic trajectories, smaller droplets stay aloft for several seconds and settle slowly with speeds consistent with a buoyant cloud dynamics model. The net deposition distribution is observed to become correspondingly broader as the source height H is increased, ranging from sitting at a table to standing upright. We find that the deposited mucosaliva decays exponentially in front of the source, after peaking at distance x = 0.71m when H = 0.5m, and x = 0.56m when H=1.5m, with standard deviations \approx 0.5m. Greater than 99% of the mucosaliva is deposited within x = 2\,m, with faster landing times further from the source. We then demonstrate that a standard nose and mouth mask reduces the mucosaliva dispersed by a factor of at least a hundred compared to the peaks recorded when unmasked.

medrxiv: DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.15.20213314v1

This work is funded by NSF Grant # 2030307 RAPID: Predicting Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Impact with Multiscale Contact and Transmission Mitigation to develop an understanding of spatiotemporal mucosalivary droplet distribution required to develop infectious spread and mitigation models.

Contact

Arshad Kudrolli

Department of Physics

Email: akudrolli@clarku.edu



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