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Today in Fluid Dynamics: “Can a Toilet Promote Virus Transmission?”

Pressure from the pandemic is bringing an urgent flow of partial information about the safety-or-danger of everyday activities. That flow brings us this new study:

Can a Toilet Promote Virus Transmission? From a Fluid Dynamics Perspective Featured,” Yun-yun Li, Ji-Xiang Wang, and Xi Chen, Physics of Fluids, vol. 32, 2020, 065107.

The authors, at Southeast University, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, and Yangzhou University, China, report:

“It is clear from daily experience that flushing a toilet generates strong turbulence within the bowl. Will this flushing-induced turbulent flow expel aerosol particles containing viruses out of the bowl? This paper adopts computational fluid dynamics to explore and visualize the characteristics of fluid flow during toilet flushing and the influence of flushing on the spread of virus aerosol particles…. The simulation results are alarming in that massive upward transport of virus particles is observed, with 40%–60% of particles reaching above the toilet seat, leading to large-scale virus spread. Suggestions concerning safer toilet use and recommendations for a better toilet design are also provided.”

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