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EuropePMC; 2022.
Preprint in English | EuropePMC | ID: ppcovidwho-331511


Coughing and sneezing are the main ways of spreading coronavirus-2019 (SARS-CoV-2). Strategically critical facilities such as power plants cannot be shut down even in challenging situations like the COVID-19 outbreak. The personnel of the power plants' control room need to work together at close distances. This study presents the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation results on the dispersion and transport of respiratory droplets emitted by an infected person coughs in a control room with an air ventilation system. This information would be helpful for risk assessment and for developing mitigation measures to prevent the spread of infection. The turbulent airflow in the control room is simulated using the k-ε model. The particle equation of motion included the drag, the Saffman lift, the Brownian, gravity/buoyancy, and thermophoresis forces. The simulation results showed that after 115 s, the cough droplets are dispersed in the entire room, and there is no safe (virus-free) space in the control room. Therefore, a safer design for the ventilation system is proposed by placing the ventilation air inlet and outlet registers across the control room and creating airflow patterns similar to air curtains that divided the room into three compartments.