Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Ismail B. Celik.


With the threat of a pandemic drawing near and the possibility of a "new", more deadly, form of the influenza virus from genetic re-assortment of avian and human influenza viruses, there is dire need for a better understanding of the transmission mechanisms of this virus. The present study focuses on the aerosol mode of transmission, particularly via the mechanism of human cough. Utilizing computational fluid dynamics (CFD), an in-house code was developed to model the transport of a sputum droplet (cough expectorant) within a jet of air (representative of a human cough). A parametric study was conducted using the model, in order to more thoroughly identify and visualize the conditions that a virus housed within such a droplet would be subject to while in the airborne state. Also, the commercial CFD solver FLUENT was used to perform simulations of an experimental setup at the Morgantown NIOSH facility involving a specialized room containing an apparatus capable of "reproducing" the flow rate and particle size distribution of a human cough. A scenario of a human producing multiple, consecutive coughs within this room was simulated through the use of this software, as well. In these simulations, small particles were injected into the room at the source of the cough, and their trajectories were tracked over time. The calculated particle dispersion within the room was then compared to experimental data to assess the suitability and accuracy of CFD simulations for such a flow.