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08/12/2022 08:19

Achema 2022: Research team investigates low-cost ventilation system for monitoring aerosol dispersion indoors

Melanie Löw Universitätskommunikation
Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

    Full classrooms or busy meeting rooms - the risk of infection with the coronavirus is increased, especially indoors. Retrofitted exhaust air or ventilation systems can help reduce the concentration of potentially infectious particles. But how reliably does such a system work? Can the system be controlled automatically by combining it with particle sensors? A team of researchers at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK) is looking into this. The team will be presenting its project at the Achema process industry trade fair in Frankfurt from 22 to 26 August at the Rhineland-Palatinate research stand (stand A35, hall 6).

    Ventilation systems can help reduce the concentration of (potentially infectious) particles indoors. Therefore, such systems are also of great interest in the current Covid 19 pandemic. "The air around people is heated by body heat and rises. In the ventilation system under investigation, the rising air, including potentially infectious particles, is locally extracted upwards," says Dr.-Ing. Maximilian Kerner, who is responsible for the Aerosol Technology department under Professor Dr.-Ing. Sergiy Antonyuk at the Chair of Mechanical Process Engineering at TU Kaiserslautern.

    The Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Chemistry in Mainz presented this system concept for classrooms and seminar rooms in autumn 2020: The construction is based on commercially available DIY materials, for example pipe connections and flat foil. Accordingly, the system can be easily and inexpensively installed in a wide variety of rooms.

    At the Otto Hahn Gymnasium (OHG) in Landau, Kerner and Antonyuk's team investigated such a system. The concept is simple: ventilation hoods are installed above the seating positions in the classroom to collect the rising air. Via a central pipe with a connected fan, the air is blown to the outside through a modified window The DIY materials for this were provided by Hornbach Baumarkt AG.

    "We tested the operating principle of the system," explains Kerner. In doing so, the team carried out 3D simulations in addition to on-site investigations. "The system works as designed," he explains. "When the exhaust air system is switched on, the concentration of particles underneath a ventilation hood is reduced about twice as fast - compared to when the system is switched off. Illustrating the idea of the concept, a ventilation hood should be installed above each seating position to collect the air."

    Currently, the Kaiserslautern engineers are working on combining the ventilation system with low-cost particle sensors. The aim is to automatically control the system depending on the concentration of potentially infectious particles. "Of central importance here are the three-dimensional particle distribution in the room, the critical concentration limit and the collected air volume per time," says Kerner.

    At the fair, the team will present the ventilation system including the sensors as an example.

    Questions can be directed to:
    Dr.-Ing. Maximilian Kerner
    Chair of Mechanical Process Engineering
    E-mail: maximilian.kerner(at)mv.uni-kl.de
    Tel.: 0631 205-3035

    Klaus Dosch, Department of Technology and Innovation, is organizing the presentation of the researchers of the TU Kaiserslautern at the Achema. He is the contact partner for companies and, among other things, establishes contacts to science.
    Contact: Klaus Dosch, E-mail: dosch@rti.uni-kl.de, Phone: +49 631 205-3001

    Press photos are available at https://seafile.rlp.net/d/ce2f26dc521c4fa6bd12/
    The photos may be used free of charge in the context of reporting. Please indicate the source.


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    Criteria of this press release:
    Journalists
    Mechanical engineering, Medicine, Nutrition / healthcare / nursing
    transregional, national
    Research projects, Transfer of Science or Research
    German


     

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