CFD modeling of room airflow effects on inactivation of aerosol SARS-CoV-2 by an upper-room ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems inactivate microorganisms indoors. Upper-room UVGI systems use wall- or ceiling-mounted fixtures to create an air disinfection zone above the occupied zone. The performance of upper-room UVGI systems varies with indoor airflow patterns induced by mechanical ventilation and thermal plumes from indoor heat sources. Little information is available on the effects of ventilation strategies on upper-room UVGI system performance for the control of viral aerosols in occupied spaces. This study simulated the effects of ventilation system characteristics in an office space on the ability of an upper-room UVGI system to inactivate viral aerosols with UV-C susceptibility representative of coronaviruses. UVGI reduced viral aerosol concentration by two orders of magnitude relative to the concentration without UVGI. Air change rates and air distribution strategy (mixing vs. displacement) had notable effects on the effectiveness of the UVGI system. For mixing ventilation, as the recirculation airflow rate increased from 0 to 5.3 h−1 for a room volume of 108 m3 with a fixed outdoor air change rate of 0.7 h−1, UVGI inactivation increased by 96.7%. Mixing ventilation with 100% outdoor air of 0.7 h−1 yielded airborne virus inactivation that was double that of displacement ventilation, due to enhanced air mixing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-729
Number of pages11
JournalScience and Technology for the Built Environment
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes

Cite this