System to pinpoint airline passengers who contaminate cabins

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Date: Oct. 2007
From: Journal of Environmental Health(Vol. 70, Issue 3)
Publisher: National Environmental Health Association
Document Type: Article
Length: 720 words
Lexile Measure: 1440L

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An interdisciplinary team of Purdue University researchers is developing a system that uses mathematical models and sensors to locate passengers releasing hazardous materials or pathogens inside airline cabins. The researchers, from the fields of chemical and mechanical engineering, physics, and chemistry, have shown that the technique can track a substance to an area the size of a single seat. The work is supported by the Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Airline Cabin Research, established by the Federal Aviation Administration.

The technique might enable officials to identify passengers responsible for the unintentional release of germs, such as contagious viruses, or the intentional release of pathogens or chemical agents in a terrorist attack, said Qingyan (pronounced Chin-Yan) Chen, who is principal director of the center and a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. The inadvertent release of infectious pathogens inside an aircraft is especially dangerous during lengthy international flights, Chen said.

The research is focusing on developing mathematical models for software that will be needed to operate such a tracking system and on learning how to precisely place several sensors...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A170119102