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Size dependent effectiveness of engineering and administrative control strategies for both short- and long-range airborne transmission control

Lyu, X. ORCID:, Luo, Z. ORCID: and Shao, L. (2024) Size dependent effectiveness of engineering and administrative control strategies for both short- and long-range airborne transmission control. Environmental Science: Atmospheres, 4 (1). pp. 43-56. ISSN 2634-3606

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1039/d3ea00115f


Ventilation is recognized as an effective mitigation strategy for long-range airborne transmission. However, a recent study by Li et al. revealed its potential impact on short-range airborne transmission as well. Our study extends their work by developing size-dependent transmission models for both short- and long-range airborne transmission and evaluates the impact of various control strategies, including ventilation. By adopting a recently determined mode-dependent viral load, we first analyzed the role of different sizes of droplets in airborne transmission. In contrast to models with a constant viral load where large droplets contain more viruses, our findings demonstrated that droplets ranging from ∼2–4 μm are more critical for short-range airborne transmission. Meanwhile, droplets in the ∼1–2 μm range play a significant role in long-range airborne transmission. Furthermore, our study indicates that implementing a size-dependent filtration/mask strategy considerably affects the rate of change (ROC) of virus concentration in relation to both distancing and ventilation. This underscores the importance of factoring in droplet size during risk assessment. Engineering controls, like ventilation and filtration, as well as administrative controls, such as distancing and masks, have different effectiveness in reducing virus concentration. Our findings indicate that high-efficiency masks can drastically reduce virus concentrations, potentially diminishing the impacts of other strategies. Given the size-dependent efficiency of filtration, ventilation has a more important role in reducing virus concentration than filtration, especially for long-range airborne transmission. For short-range airborne transmission, maintaining distance is far more effective than ventilation, and its effectiveness is largely unaffected by ventilation. However, the influence of ventilation on virus concentration and its variation with the distance mainly depend on the specific transmission model utilized. In sum, this research delineates the differential roles of droplet sizes and control strategies in both short- and long-range airborne transmission, offering valuable insights for future size-dependent airborne transmission control measures.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Science > School of the Built Environment > Construction Management and Engineering
ID Code:114672
Uncontrolled Keywords:Pollution, Environmental Chemistry, Chemistry (miscellaneous), Analytical Chemistry
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)


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