Aerospace professor to study physics of infectious disease spread with NSF award

Published: February 23, 2021

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Being able to predict how droplets are dispersed during coughing, sneezing or speech is critical to understanding the spread of infectious diseases such as COVID-19. Assistant aerospace engineering professor Vrishank Raghav will lead a combined $464,846 National Science Foundation award, in collaboration with the University of Michigan, to explore this topic. In this project, the collaborative team will take existing industry and academic tools a step further by considering the underlying turbulent flow physics at play.

“Droplet-laden flows are ubiquitous both in engineering applications and in nature. For example, fuel injection in engines, paint sprays, air pollutants, platelets in blood, respiratory aerosols, to name a few,” Raghav said. “Our research group started conducting experiments to quantify speech generated aerosols at the onset of the pandemic, and this NSF grant will help us continue this work. For this study, we will be using a combination of human subjects and an ex-vivo cough simulator at Auburn University to achieve our goals.”

Read about the planned study here.

Submitted by: Cassie Montgomery