Topic status: We're looking for students to study this topic.
Aerosols produced by the human respiratory tract during breathing sneezing, speech and coughing, are important potential sources of infection for diseases such as tuberculosis and influenza. The ability of these droplets to remain airborne in the long term and hence to transmit disease over extended distances, depends on their equilibrium size once they have dried to form 'droplet nuclei'. This equilibrium size depends on the hygroscopic behaviour of the aerosol which is a function of droplet structure and composition, and on the atmospheric humidity.
The aim of this project is to measure the relationship between the hygroscopic growth of simulated respiratory aerosols and the humidity of the air in which they are transported.
This will be achieved using a Hygroscopic Tandem Differential Mobility Analyser (H-TDMA) system developed by the group. The findings would find application in models predicting respiratory aerosol dispersion and transport in buildings and public transport.