The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened awareness of the importance of indoor ventilation in preventing the spread of airborne diseases. While many studies have focused on public spaces such as restaurants and classrooms, understanding virus droplet behavior within the confined environment of a cruise ship cabin is equally crucial. This paper explores the dynamics of virus droplet dispersion within a typical cruiser’s cabin, considering the effects of ventilation rates and the positioning of the coughing person.
This study highlights the need to incorporate accurate evaporation models into virus droplet simulations. The evaporation process plays a significant role in determining the behavior of virus-laden droplets. Without accounting for evaporation, the simulations may yield inaccurate results, leading to suboptimal ventilation strategies.
It is commonly believed that increasing ventilation rates is the most effective way to minimize the spread of airborne diseases. However, this research reveals suggests otherwise. High ventilation rates can lead to unexpected consequences, particularly concerning the dispersion of saliva droplets. These droplets can potentially travel further in environments with rapid air exchange. Regardless of the chosen ventilation strategy, it is crucial to recognise that saliva droplets evaporate more quickly than the room’s air renewal process.
To ensure the safety of passengers and crew, cruise ship cabins should aim to minimize droplet spreading while maintaining a comfortable and energy-efficient environment. Different ventilation strategies should be employed based on cabin occupancy. Authors recommend the use of ventilation systems operating at medium flow rates of approximately 120 m³/h or three air changes per hour when cabins are occupied. This recommendation aligns closely with the latest standard set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which suggests a value of 108 m³/h.
By implementing this suggested ventilation rate, a balance is maintained between controlling droplet spread and preserving indoor air quality. This approach not only minimises the risk of disease transmission but also ensures passenger comfort and energy efficiency.
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