Teen’s invention keeps germs on planes in check

15th of June 2015
Teen’s invention keeps germs on planes in check

A Canadian teenager has come up with an airflow concept aimed at preventing the spread of airborne diseases on aircraft.

Raymond Wang started working on the project after learning that a single air passenger with an infectious disease had the potential to spread the disease to as many as 17 other passengers on the flight.

Impressed by what he referred to as this "pretty scary statistic" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the 17-year-old created simulations of airflow inside the cabin of a Boeing 737.

"With the traditional cabin, what's happening is you've got two large, turbulent swirls," said Wang. "You're spreading disease across the rows and longitudinally."

He used his airflow simulations to design devices that would fit inside a plane's existing air inlets. Wang's method of changing airflow is said to improve the availability of fresh air by more than 190 per cent while reducing airborne germs by up to 55 times.

The Vancouver student says his device cost him only $10 to make and can be installed using a couple of simple screws. "Overnight you are able to improve cabin airflow economically," he said.

He estimates that it would cost around $1,000 and take a minimal amount of time to update an entire airplane. He has now applied for a patent for his invention, which won him the $75,000 award at the 2015 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. This was judged in Pittsburgh, US, in May.

Among Wang's other inventions is a self-cleaning dustbin.




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