The Brillance of Ingenuity

CFDRC Developing Novel Bioaerosol Ionization and Collection System for US Army

CFDRC Developing Novel Bioaerosol Ionization and Collection System for US Army

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – January 15, 2014 - CFD Research Corporation has been awarded a $1M follow-on contract from the US Army to further develop a bioaerosol ionization and collection system for critical infrastructure protection. The overall goal of the project is to develop a novel, energy-efficient, continuous ionization system for electrostatic collection of bioaerosols for building protection with minimal ozone generation. 

“Safe and efficient ionization and filtration technology compatible to biodefense applications is of paramount importance,” said Dr. Yi Wang, CFDRC Director and Principal Investigator, “current ionization methods are energy-intensive, costly or inefficient, lead to ozone generation, and consequently are ill-suited for building protection applications.” 

A key innovation of the project includes the design of an electrospray ionization (ESI) system augmented with aerodynamic flow and multiplex electrospray sources for enhanced ionization and energy efficiency. A holistic research approach combining aerodynamics and electrostatics modeling, hardware prototyping, microbiology, and bioaerosol experimentation is being utilized for technology demonstration and maturation. 


Miniaturized Prototype for Collection of Bioaerosols

In earlier funded work, key technology concepts were successfully demonstrated. Multiple ionizer design concepts (electrospray and bipolar ionization) were evaluated using physics-based simulations, followed by prototyping and testing. Experiments were performed to demonstrate salient performance and establish proof-of-principle of the technology.


The new contract will focus on design optimization, experimental characterization (e.g., energy consumption, collection efficiency), maintenance requirements, and manufacturability. The prototype will be extensively demonstrated for filtering surrogate bioaerosols in a variety of operating conditions (e.g., temperature, humidity levels, particle loading) at throughputs up to 2,000 CFM. 

A multi-disciplinary team with experience in all aspects of the work including electrostatics, microbiology, modeling and design, prototype fabrication and experimentation, and systems engineering has been assembled to ensure successful completion of contract milestones.

CFD Research Corporation
Richard Thoms
Manager, Technology Partnerships
256.726.4810 //

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