System Detects Hazardous Materials Released in Aircraft Cabins

Researchers at Purdue University are developing a system that uses
mathematical models and sensors to locate passengers releasing hazardous materials or pathogens inside airline cabins. The research has shown that the technique can track a substance to an area the size of a single seat.

The technique, called "inverse simulation," analyzes how a material disperses throughout the cabin and then runs the dispersion in reverse to find its origin. Sensors track the airflow pattern and collect data related to factors such as temperature, velocity, and concentration of gases and particles in the air.

According to the researchers, 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.

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