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“Host-to-Host Airborne Contagion As a Multiphase Flow Problem For Science-Based Social Distance Guidelines” by Dr. S. Balachandar

June 29 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm


Dr. S. Balachandar
Distinguished Professor, Department of Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering 
University of Florida

Due to the latest UF and State of Florida directives, Dr. Balachandar’s talk will be presented via Zoom.

RSVP below. Instructions to attend talk via Zoom will be emailed to you.


Host-to-Host Airborne Contagion As a Multiphase Flow Problem For Science-Based Social Distance Guidelines


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought sudden and broad social awareness about the fundamental role of airborne droplets and aerosols as virus carriers. Droplets are formed and emitted at high speed during a sneeze, and at lower speed while coughing, talking or breathing. The virus-laden droplets are then initially transported  as part of the coherent puff of buoyant fluid ejected by the infected host. Larger droplets fall out of the puff, while smaller droplets rapidly evaporate and the virus takes the form of a potentially inhalable aerosol. The use of a mask or other protective devices by the receiving host diminishes the probability of inhalation of the virus-laden aerosol, but its effectiveness depends on the droplet/aerosol size. CDC guideline of social distancing of 2 meters (6 feet) is based on the disease transmission theory developed in 1930s. Incorporating the effect of adverse flow conditions that prevail under confined environment of elevators, aircraft cabins and public transit, or favorable conditions of open space with good breeze or cross ventilation is important. Only through reliable understanding of the underlying flow physics of virus transmission one can arrive at a nuanced multi-layered guideline in designing case-specific social distancing guidelines. The talk will focus on the physics and theoretical modeling of droplet/aerosol dispersion.


Dr. S. Balachandar is currently the William F. Powers Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at the University of Florida. From 2005 to 2011, he was the Chairman of the department. Under his leadership, the department grew rapidly from 42 to 54 faculty. He is the inaugural Director of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering Institute for Computational Engineering (ICE) and under his leadership the Institute has established the graduate certificate program in Scientific Computing.

Dr. Balachandar’s expertise is in computational multiphase flow, direct and large eddy simulations of transitional, turbulent flows, and integrated multiphysics simulations of complex problems. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Balachandar received the Francois Naftali Frenkiel Award from the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics in 1996 and the Arnold O. Beckman Award and the University Scholar Award from the University of Illinois.

Before joining the University of Florida, Balachandar was a professor in the Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he was the co-lead of the Fluids Group and a member of the Science Steering Committee at the DOE ASAP Center for Simulation of Advanced Rockets. This research group included six faculty, seven research scientists, and several graduate and undergraduate students. Many of these staff and students are now employed as researchers at NNSA labs.

Monday, June 29, 2020


RSVP below. Instructions to attend talk via Zoom will be emailed to you.


RSVP to Attend Below


June 29
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
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