Computational Investigation of The Exhalation Process with and Without Wearing a Protective Mask
Keywords:Exhalation, 3D-printed masks, COVID-19 contagious disease
This paper shows different simulations of airflow patterns for the human face during exhalation with and without wearing a protective mask. The nasal airways were defined based on biological anthropology and medicine instructions. A three-dimensional body-manikin of African athlete of 1.8 meters tall was employed to the expiration (exhalation) flow study using ANSYS-Fluent software. There were two different mask models included in the flow simulations and were manufactured by means of 3D-printing technology. The two manufactured masks were designed using SolidWorks software. The study was carried out four times during the exhalation process of a human wearing the two masks and without wearing them. The velocity magnitudes were significantly different while wearing the mask in comparison to the cases of not wearing it. The results demonstrate the capability of using 3D-printed masks as a replacement of the traditional medical masks (i.e., N95 and surgical masks) with retaining the same functions of the protective mask. Thus, based on the present study and due to the great shortage of surgical and medical masks availability locally and globally, the 3D-printed masks might be a temporary solution to limit the vast spread of contagious diseases like the dangerous COVID-19 outbreak.