Skip to main content

Characterization of the indoor far-field aerosol transmission in a model commercial office building...

Publication Type
Journal Name
International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer
Publication Date
Page Number

As businesses gradually reopen and employees return to work, the potential spread of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants through airborne transmission via the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems of commercial building raises concerns. Since the general practice in commercial buildings is to use low-efficiency air filters and given that indoor air is generally recycled, the degree to which cross-zone aerosol transmission occurs is of interest. To quantify the cross-zone aerosol transmission, experiments were conducted using a synthetic test aerosol in the five zones on the first floor of a model commercial office building at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Because the synthetic aerosol was tagged with fluorescent salt, the aerosol generated from the source zone can be distinguished from the background aerosols due to its unique fluorescent signal. Data from cross-zone campaigns showed that submicron-aerosol transmission was higher than the micron aerosols. In campaigns with doors closed, the submicron aerosol transmission was less than 16% and less than 11% for micron aerosol transmission. Opening the interior doors that connecting different zones can significantly enhance the aerosol transmission for zones at the close proximity to the source, but has less impact on those farther away.