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Formation of bioaerosols carrying microbial particles

Academic lead
Oliver Harlen (Mathematics)
Cath Noakes (Civil Engineering), Mark Wilson (Mechanical Engineering), Nik Kapur (Mechanical Engineering)
Project themes
Biomedical Flows

Bioaerosols, invisible tiny droplets less than 10 microns in diameter, are an important mechanism for disease transmission, as demonstrated by the current coronavirus pandemic. However, there is much we don’t understand about the fluid dynamics of how these droplets are formed and how they behave on emission at the mouthThese droplets are not much larger than the disease microbes they carryso the concentration of microbes in these droplets may be quite different from the bulk fluid. Conversely, we might also expect the presence of these microbial particles to affect the droplet size distribution. Another important question is how the viscoelasticity and surface tension of fluids such as mucus and saliva affect droplet formation. This project is expected to involve both development of theory and experiments, but the balance between these is open.