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Modeling the role of respiratory droplets in Covid-19 type pandemics

Chaudhuri, S and Basu, S and Kabi, P and Unni, VR and Saha, A (2020) Modeling the role of respiratory droplets in Covid-19 type pandemics. In: Physics of Fluids, 32 (6).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0015984


In this paper, we develop a first principles model that connects respiratory droplet physics with the evolution of a pandemic such as the ongoing Covid-19. The model has two parts. First, we model the growth rate of the infected population based on a reaction mechanism. The advantage of modeling the pandemic using the reaction mechanism is that the rate constants have sound physical interpretation. The infection rate constant is derived using collision rate theory and shown to be a function of the respiratory droplet lifetime. In the second part, we have emulated the respiratory droplets responsible for disease transmission as salt solution droplets and computed their evaporation time, accounting for droplet cooling, heat and mass transfer, and finally, crystallization of the dissolved salt. The model output favourably compares with the experimentally obtained evaporation characteristics of levitated droplets of pure water and salt solution, respectively, ensuring fidelity of the model. The droplet evaporation/desiccation time is, indeed, dependent on ambient temperature and is also a strong function of relative humidity. The multi-scale model thus developed and the firm theoretical underpinning that connects the two scales-macro-scale pandemic dynamics and micro-scale droplet physics-thus could emerge as a powerful tool in elucidating the role of environmental factors on infection spread through respiratory droplets. © 2020 Author(s).

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Physics of Fluids
Publisher: American Institute of Physics Inc.
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to American Institute of Physics Inc.
Keywords: Evaporation; Growth rate; Mass transfer; Population statistics; Rate constants, Disease transmission; Droplet evaporation; Environmental factors; First principles models; Heat and mass transfer; Multi-scale Modeling; Physical interpretation; Reaction mechanism, Drops
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Mechanical Engineering
Date Deposited: 11 Nov 2021 14:07
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2021 14:07
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/66106

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