Risk assessment and mitigation of airborne disease transmission in orchestral wind instrument performance

Aliza Abraham, Ruichen He, Siyao Shao, S. Santosh Kumar, Changchang Wang, Buyu Guo, Maximilian Trifonov, Rafael Grazzini Placucci, Mele Willis, Jiarong Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In collaboration with 16 musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra, we assess the airflow and particle concentration emitted from ten wind instruments under realistic performance conditions. Anemometer and schlieren measurement techniques are used to quantify the air flow, and aerodynamic particle sizer, laser sheet, and digital inline holography techniques are used to measure the particle concentration. The regions where the flow speed and particle concentrations are above the measurable background level vary among instruments depending on both air flow generation and particle production, but extend no farther than 30 cm from the instrument outlet for all instruments. Farther away, the upward-moving thermal plume generated by the temperature difference between the human body and ambient air is the dominant source of flow and aerosol transport. Brass instrument air flow increases with music amplitude and particle concentration exhibits an inverse response to note duration. Woodwinds emit more particles when note pitch increases. Covering the trumpet bell with one layer of acoustic fabric reduces the emitted particle concentration by ~60% with little impact on the sound quality. Adding more mask layers blocks more particles, but impedes performance and lowers the sound quality at higher frequencies (>1000 Hz). Computational fluid dynamics simulations initialized with experimental data show that placing an air cleaner above the instrument outlet can reduce the particle concentration by 90% due to the thermal plume driving aerosols upwards. Filtration efficiency further increases considerably (~10%) when lowering the ambient temperature from 25 °C to 20 °C to enhance the temperature difference with the human body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105797
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Volume157
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the School of Medicine of the University of Minnesota . The authors would like to thank Dr. Kevin Mallery for his assistance with experiment preparation. We would also like to thank Prof. David Y.H. Pui for equipment support, his postdocs Dr. Qisheng Ou and Dr. Seong Chan Kim and graduate student Dongbin Kwak for their assistance in the equipment calibration. In addition, we thank Joel Mooney and the other Minnesota Orchestra staff members who assisted with the experiments, as well as the 16 musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra for their participation in the experiments. Finally, we thank Prof. Jon Hallberg for connecting us with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the School of Medicine of the University of Minnesota. The authors would like to thank Dr. Kevin Mallery for his assistance with experiment preparation. We would also like to thank Prof. David Y.H. Pui for equipment support, his postdocs Dr. Qisheng Ou and Dr. Seong Chan Kim and graduate student Dongbin Kwak for their assistance in the equipment calibration. In addition, we thank Joel Mooney and the other Minnesota Orchestra staff members who assisted with the experiments, as well as the 16 musicians from the Minnesota Orchestra for their participation in the experiments. Finally, we thank Prof. Jon Hallberg for connecting us with the Minnesota Orchestra.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Aerosol concentration
  • Airborne disease transmission
  • Human thermal plume
  • Influence zone
  • Musical instrument
  • Risk mitigation

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