Influence of cabin conditions on placement and response of contaminant detection sensors in a commercial aircraft
Potential causalities due to airborne disease transmission and risk of chem-bio terrorism in commercial airliner cabins can be reduced by fast responses. Fast responses are only possible by using sensors at appropriate locations in the cabins. Cost, size and weight factors restrict the number of sensors that could be installed inside a cabin. Since release locations and seating patterns of passengers can impact airborne contaminant transports, this study first addressed this impact by using a validated computational fluid dynamics (CFD) program in a four-row mockup of twin-aisle airliner cabin. It was observed that occupancy patterns and release locations have little influence on longitudinal contaminant transports though localized variations of contaminant concentrations may exist. The results show that response time of the sensors is considerably reduced with the increase in number of sensors. If only a single sensor is available across a cabin cross-section then it should be placed at the middle of the ceiling. A cabin model of a fully occupied twin-aisle airliner with 210 seats was also build to study the diverse contaminant distribution trends along cabin length. The results reveal that seating arrangements can make cross-sectional airflow pattern considerably asymmetrical. Similar airflow patterns make the longitudinal contaminant transport in the business and economy classes alike. The presence of galleys greatly affected the longitudinal transport of contaminants in a particular cabin section. The effects due to galleys were less significant if a multipoint sampling system was used. The multipoint sampling system can also reduce the number of sensors required in a cabin.