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How coughs and sneezes float farther than you think
Date:4/8/2014

vaporates into solid residues, or both.

"The cloud entrains ambient air into it and continues to grow and mix," Bourouiba says. "But as the cloud grows, it slows down, and so is less able to suspend the droplets within it. You thus cannot model this as isolated droplets moving ballistically."

Ready for a close-up

The MIT researchers are now developing additional tools and studies to extend our knowledge of the subject. For instance, given air conditions in any setting, researchers can better estimate the reach of a given expelled pathogen.

"An important feature to characterize is the pathogen footprint," Bush says. "Where does the pathogen actually go? The answer has changed dramatically as a result of our revised physical picture."

Bourouiba's continuing research focuses on the fluid dynamics of fragmentation, or fluid breakup, which governs the formation of the pathogen-bearing droplets responsible for indoor transmission of respiratory and other infectious diseases. Her aim is to better understand the mechanisms underlying the epidemic patterns that occur in populations.

"We're trying to rationalize the droplet size distribution resulting from the fluid breakup in the respiratory tract and exit of the mouth," she says. "That requires zooming in close to see precisely how these droplets are formed and ejected."


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Contact: Abby Abazorius
abbya@mit.edu
617-253-2709
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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