When a hazardous aerosol or gas is inadvertently or deliberately released in an occupied facility, the airborne material presents a hazard to people. Inadvertent accidents and exposures continue to occur in Los Alamos and other nuclear facilities despite state-of-art engineering and administrative controls, and heightened diligence. Despite the obvious need in occupational settings and for homeland defense, the body of research in hazardous aerosol dispersion and control in large, complex, ventilated enclosures is extremely limited. The science governing generation, transport, inhalation, and detection of airborne hazards is lacking and must be developed to where it can be used by engineers or safety professionals in the prediction of worker exposure, in the prevention of accidents, or in the mitigation of terrorist actions. In this study, a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code, CFX5.4, and experiments were used to assess flow field characteristics, and to investigate aerosol release and transport in a large, ventilated workroom in a facility at Savannah River Site. Steady state CFD results illustrating a complex, ventilation-induced, flow field with vortices, velocity gradients, and quiet zones are presented, as are time-dependent CFD and experimental aerosol dispersion results. The comparison of response times between CFD and experimental results was favorable. It is believed that future applications of CFD and experiments can have a favorable impact on the design of ventilation (HVAC) systems and worker safety with consideration to facility costs. Ultimately, statistical methods will be used in conjunction with CFD calculations to determine the optimal number and location of detectors, as well as optimal egress routes in event of a release.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.