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Experimental Simulation of COVID 19 aerosol dispersion in rooms




4: Architecture

Faculty Supervisor:

Prof. Leon Glicksman

Faculty email:


Apply by:



Prof. Glicksman, glicks@mit.edu

Project Description

Recent studies suggest that a major vehicle for SARS and COVID-19 transmission is bioaerosol dispersion in building interiors. However, the bioaerosol dispersion in classroom and office settings are poorly understood. For example, widespread COVID infection of customers within a Chinese restaurant have been attributed to HVAC units that set up horizontal air currents. A better understanding of aerosol dispersion requires joint efforts using both experimentation and computation to produce general recommendations. Physical on-campus experiments will allow observation of air circulation patterns and measurement of the dispersion of a safe tracer gas in classrooms. Work in a related project using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) will model such flows and be verified by the experimental findings. The results of this work will allow us to formulate the safest design and operation of conditioned air flow systems to maximize safe occupancy and energy efficiency of HVAC systems. There are opportunities for several students in this project.


Applicants are expected to have an introductory knowledge of fluid mechanics; heat and mass transfer would also be helpful. It is preferable that students have a working knowledge of basic hand tools, maintaining experimental logs, and personal protective equipment. Work will be performed on campus.