Studying How Musical Instruments Spread Aerosols


MSI PI Jiarong Hong  (associate professor. Mechanical Engineering) led a recent study of how woodwinds and brass instruments spread aerosols. Collaborating with the Minnesota Orchestra, Professor Hong and his team measured the aerosols spread by different instruments, finding that there is considerable difference between them. The study also investigated different methods of mitigating spread by using filters that covered the instruments’ openings. The research was published in the Journal of Aerosol Science and can be found on the journal website: Aerosol Generation From Different Wind Instruments.

The researchers also investigated how far the aerosols moved from each instrument in Orchestra Hall. Further research will be performed by MSI PI Suo Yang (assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering), who will use the results of Professor Hong’s studies to investigate airflow and exchange patterns in Orchestra Hall. This combined research will be used by the orchestra to determine how it can safely return to performing, and will also be useful for other musical groups.

A story about this research appears on the College of Science and Engineering website: Musical Instruments Don’t Spread Aerosols as Far as You Might Think.

Professor Hong uses MSI resources for computational studies in fluid mechanics related to multiphase flows and flow-structure interactions, using image-based techniques and machine learning. Professor Yang is performing first-principles based modeling and simulation of reacting flows, including combustion, turbulence, soot aerosols, and plasma physics, and their multiscale interactions.