Drying of virus-containing particles: Modelling effects of droplet origin and composition

Jarvis, M. C. (2021) Drying of virus-containing particles: Modelling effects of droplet origin and composition. Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering, 19(2), pp. 1987-1996. (doi: 10.1007/s40201-021-00750-6)

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Background and purpose: Virus-containing aerosol droplets emitted by breathing, speech or coughing dry rapidly to equilibrium with ambient relative humidity (RH), increasing in solute concentration with effects on virus survival and decreasing in diameter with effects on sedimentation and respiratory uptake. The aim of this paper is to model the effect of ionic and macromolecular solutes on droplet drying and solute concentration. Methods: Deliquescence-efflorescence concepts and Kohler theory were used to simulate the evolution of solute concentrations and water activity in respiratory droplets, starting from efflorescence data on mixed NaCl/KCl aerosols and osmotic pressure data on respiratory macromolecules. Results: In NaCl/KCl solutions total salt concentrations were shown to reach 10-13 M at the efflorescence RH of 40-55%, depending on the K:Na ratio. Dependence on K:Na ratio implies that the evaporation curves differ between aerosols derived from saliva and from airway surfaces. The direct effect of liquid droplet size through the Kelvin term was shown to be smaller and restricted to the evolution of breath emissions. Modelling the effect of proteins and glycoproteins showed that salts determine drying equilibria down to the efflorescence RH, and macromolecules at lower RH. Conclusion: Differences in solute composition between airway surfaces and saliva are predicted to lead to different drying behaviour of droplets emitted by breathing, speech and coughing. These differences may influence the inactivation of viruses.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jarvis, Dr Michael
Authors: Jarvis, M. C.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering
ISSN (Online):2052-336X
Published Online:05 November 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author
First Published:First published in Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering 19(2): 1987-1996
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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