Home Health Window, corridor: the right seat to avoid contracting Covid-19 by plane or...

Window, corridor: the right seat to avoid contracting Covid-19 by plane or train


In the era of Covid-19, new data has emerged in the field of seat reservations in public transport. If until then, we were content to choose window or corridor, class 1 or 2, or if necessary to avoid the family square, we may now choose our seat according to our risk of contracting Covid-19.

Because in fact, air flows and ventilation have the effect of causing different risks of contamination depending on the location of our headquarters.

In a study published at the end of December 2021 in the journal Physics of Fluids (Source 1), researchers from IBM Research Laboratories analyzed the dynamics of fluids, and in particular of airborne droplets, in a row of three people, between a window and a hallway. The air entering the passenger compartment (cab or wagon) comes from above and leaves via the air vents located towards the windows. The results showed good overall air renewal performance, with an average of 24.1% of droplets eliminated in the first 40 seconds.

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By observing the flows and the evacuation of the air, the scientists concluded that window seat was the safest of the three, because less contaminated by droplets from other passengers. The airflow allowing the droplets to travel upwards. On the other hand, beware of the seat on the aisle side. Not only does he not benefit from the upward airflow, but he finds himself breathing the air exhaled by his neighbors in the other rows, since his own air is drawn downwards by the ventilation system.

“By visualizing droplets and airflow, you realize how many physical phenomena are happening around us that go unnoticed, such as the complex interactions between natural bodily plumes, exhalation and ventilation.,” commented the study’s first author, Carlos Peña-Monferrer, in a statement (Source 2).When it comes to preventing the risk of infection, this is precisely what makes it difficult to contain”, he added.

Although not carried out in real conditions, the study is obviously in favor of improving our ventilation systems in public transport and other public places.

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