The spreading of the corona virus in indoor air

Professor Philomena Bluyssen starts in a consortium with Fulvio Scarano (TU Delft) and  Christophe Hermans of NLR/DNW, a study into the distribution of microscopic droplets, so-called aerosols, through the air in indoor spaces. With a setup in the Experience room of the SenseLab at Delft University of Technology, the spread of aerosols is made visible under different ventilation conditions.

The research can provide insight into what additional measures need to be taken in shared indoor spaces in order to counter the spread of the corona virus even better. The results will be used to provide the OMT, RIVM and GGDs with new insights.

Dissemination routes
In the dispersal of the SARS-CoV-2, three dispersal routes are distinguished:

  1. (large) droplets and splashes that bridge only a short distance
  2. direct contact between people or with contaminated surfaces
  3. microscopic droplets (aerosols) that can be carried on a stream of air

In the Netherlands, there is a focus on the first two forms of distribution. Keeping a distance of 1.5 metres and regularly washing of the hands are measures to control the risk of contamination via large droplets and direct contact.

The fact that relatively less attention is paid to the third route of infection, via aerosols, has to do with the uncertainty whether these small droplets can contain enough virus to infect individuals. The consortium wants to study the spread of aerosols in indoor spaces with different degrees of ventilation, so that when concrete measures are taken, all dispersal routes and associated contamination risks are contained. In addition, a research is conducted on a variety of sizes of drops and mouth caps in collaboration with Paul Scheepers of Radbouwumc and Henk Jan Holterman of the University of Wageningen.


Funder:Delft University Fund
Programme:TU Delft COVID-19 Response Fund
Grant amount:€ 10.000
Role TU Delft: Lead partner
TU Delft researchers:       Philomena Bluyssen

Project partners

NLR/DNW, Universiteit Wageningen, bba binnenmilieu, Radboudumc