Date of Graduation

5-2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Mechanical Engineering

Advisor

Nutter, Darin

Abstract

Bioterrorism has become a concern for Americans since the 2001 anthrax letters. Many studies have been done regarding the possibilities of biological attacks since, and most deal with possibilities of large scale attacks. However, there is reason to believe that small scale attacks are more likely. Even though studies have been done revolving around the postal system and the spread of bioagents through mail, few if any studies have looked at an attack on a single building. One particular method of attacking a building would be simply releasing an aerosoled contaminant in the building. This purpose of this project is to develop a method for studying the spread of an aerosoled contaminant through a building and to determine what factors most affect the time between contaminant release and lethal exposure for an occupant in various locations. A multizone airflow model, CONTAM, was used to run several scenarios to compare the effects of the air handling system, opening or closing doors, and which floor an occupant is located. It was discovered that the air handling system had the greatest effect on a contaminant?s spread through a building. Which floor an occupant was on had some effect, although insignificant compared to the air handling system's effect. Opening or closing doors generally was found to be important, but had the least effect on lethal exposure for an occupant. For the scenarios investigated, lethal exposure times ranged from 5 seconds to nearly 15 minutes.

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