Particle removal efficiency of the portable HEPA air cleaner in a simulated hospital ward


Use of a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter in a room is believed to assist in reducing the risk of transmission of infectious diseases through removing the particles or large droplets to which pathogens may be attached. Use of a portable HEPA filter(s) in hospital wards is hypothesized to increase the effective ventilation rate (for particles only). Use of a portable HEPA filter is also hypothesized to increase the effective airflow rate of the general ward to the standard of an isolation ward for emerging infection diseases. This may be a good solution for housing patients when the number of beds in an isolation ward is insufficient. An experiment was conducted in a full scale experimental ward with a dimension of 6.7 m × 6 m × 2.7 m and 6 beds to test these hypotheses for a portable HEPA filter. The removal efficiency for different size particles was measured at different locations. The influence of the portable HEPA air cleaner on the airflow pattern was also studied through smoke visualization and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. Results show that the HEPA filter can effectively decrease the particle concentration level. The effective air change rate achieved by the HEPA filter (for particle removal only) is from 2.7 to 5.6 ACH in the ward. The strong supply air jet from the portable HEPA filter interacted with the room airflow pattern and became dominate, introducing global airflow mixing in the room. Background noise levels were also measured and noise level in the room increased when the maximum airflow of the filter was used.


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Correspondence to Hua Qian.

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Qian, H., Li, Y., Sun, H. et al. Particle removal efficiency of the portable HEPA air cleaner in a simulated hospital ward. Build. Simul. 3, 215–224 (2010).

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  • particle
  • portable HEPA filter
  • hospital ward