Study on the initial velocity distribution of exhaled air from coughing and speaking

Chemosphere. 2012 Jun;87(11):1260-4. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.01.032. Epub 2012 Feb 18.


Increasing concerns about the spread of airborne pathogens such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and novel swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) have attracted public attention to bioaerosols and protection against them. The airborne pathogens are likely to be expelled from coughing or speaking, so the physical data of the exhaled particles plays a key role in analyzing the pathway of airborne viruses. The objective of this study was to analyze the initial velocity and the angle of the exhaled airflow from coughing and speaking of 17 males and 9 females using Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and acrylic indoor chamber. The results showed that the average initial coughing velocity was 15.3 m/s for the males and 10.6 m/s for the females, while the average initial speaking velocity was 4.07 m/s and 2.31 m/s respectively. The angle of the exhaled air from coughing was around 38° for the males and 32° for the females, while that of the exhaled air from speaking was around 49° and 78° respectively. Also, the linear relation between the tested subject's height and their coughing and speaking velocity was shown in this study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Air*
  • Cough*
  • Exhalation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rheology
  • Speech*
  • Young Adult