Mixing of a Point Source Indoor Pollutant by Forced Convection

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Journal Article

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The mixing rate of pollutants emitted from indoor sources influences the effectiveness of pollutant removal by building ventilation and the potential variability of exposure for a given release scenario. Quantitative information is scant on the mixing rate and the factors that govern it. We present mixing data for an instantaneously released tracer gas, carbon monoxide, in a sealed, unoccupied room under a range of forced airflow conditions, in which the flow is induced by blowers. The resulting mixing times, from 2 to 42 minutes, are related to the mechanical power of the air jets produced by the blowers. Mixing times are found to correlate well with the inverse of the cube root of power, in accordance with theoretical predictions and experimental observations for mixing in chemical reactors. The exposure index, defined as the time-averaged concentration at a point relative to the time-averaged concentration for the room as a whole, is presented for three experimental conditions, yielding quantitative information on the appropriateness of the well-mixed hypothesis under various flow conditions. In general, the exposure period following instantaneous release of a point-source pollutant must be much greater than the mixing time for the assumption of uniform mixing to hold. The correlation between mixing time and power input is used to predict the mixing time from the mixing action of a supply air jet for a typical ventilation scenario. The predicted mixing time, τmix∼7 min, is substantially lower than the time scale for removal by ventilation, τvent∼48 min. Under these conditions, complete mixing of an instantaneous release, point-source pollutant would be approximately attained within the interior space well before the pollutant would be thoroughly removed by ventilation.


Indoor Air



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