Body heat may draw particles into breathing range

Computer simulations suggest thermal plumes may trap infectious particles near the head

By Laura Sanders, 15:42 PM March 17, 2010

PORTLAND, Ore. — In small rooms, body heat may draw particles to all the wrong places. Thermal plumes radiating off a person can waft microbes, pollen and dust into breathing range, a study presented March 16 at a meeting of the American Physical Society finds.

Understanding how body heat affects particle motion may help engineers design airflow systems that minimize particle exposure, said study coauthor John McLaughlin of Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y.

“One of the conventional idea...

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