• Comparing airborne infectious aerosol exposures in sparsely occupied large spaces utilizing large-diameter ceiling fans

In sparsely occupied large industrial and commercial buildings, large-diameter ceiling fans (LDCFs) are commonly utilized for comfort cooling and destratification; however, a limited number of studies were conducted to guide the operation of these devices during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study conducted 223 parametrical computational-fluid-dynamics (CFD) simulations of LDCFs in the U.S. Department of Energy warehouse reference building to compare the impacts of fan operations, index-person, and worker-packing-line locations on airborne exposures to infectious aerosols under both summer and winter conditions. The steady-state airflow fields were modeled while transient exposures to particles of varying sizes (0.5 – 10 μm) were evaluated over an eight-hour period. Both the airflow and aerosol models were validated by measurement data from the literature. It was found that it is preferable to create a breeze from LDCFs for increased airborne dilution into a sparsely occupied large warehouse, which is more similar to an outdoor scenario than a typical indoor scenario. Operation of fans at the highest feasible speed while maintaining thermal-comfort requirements consistently outperformed the other options in terms of airborne exposures. There is no substantial evidence that fan reversal is beneficial in the current large space of interest. Reversal flow direction to create upward flows at higher fan speeds generally reduced performance compared with downward flows, as there was less airflow through the fan blades at the same rotational speed. Reversing flow at lower fan speeds decreased airflow speeds and dilution in the space and, thus, increased whole-warehouse concentrations.



Work Title • Comparing airborne infectious aerosol exposures in sparsely occupied large spaces utilizing large-diameter ceiling fans
Open Access
  1. Senwen Yang
  2. Liangzhu Wang
  3. Paul Raftery
  4. Michael Ivanovich
  5. Christian Taber
  6. William Bahnfleth
  7. Pawel Wargocki
  8. Jovan Pantelic
  9. Jiwei Zou
  10. Mohammad Mortezazadeh
  11. Chang Shu
  12. Runzhong Wang
  13. Scott Arnold
  1. COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; Airborne; Ceiling fan; Warehouse; CFD; Drift-flux
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
Publication Date 2023
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
  1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.buildenv.2023.110022
Deposited March 06, 2023




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Updated
  • Updated
  • Added Yang et al 2023 Infection Risk-Large D Ceiling Fans.pdf
  • Added Creator Senwen Yang
  • Added Creator Liangzhu Wang
  • Added Creator Paul Raftery
  • Added Creator Michael Ivanovich
  • Added Creator Christian Taber
  • Added Creator William Bahnfleth
  • Added Creator Pawel Wargocki
  • Added Creator Jovan Pantelic
  • Added Creator Jiwei Zou
  • Added Creator Mohammad Mortezazadeh
  • Added Creator Chang Shu
  • Added Creator Runzhong Wang
  • Added Creator Scott Arnold
  • Updated License Show Changes
    • https://rightsstatements.org/page/InC/1.0/
  • Published