Sheng-Hsiu Huang1, Yu-Mei Kuo This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.2, Chih-Wei Lin1, Po-Chin Chen1, Chih-Chieh Chen1

1 Institute of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei 10055, Taiwan
2 Department of Occupational Safety and Health, Chung Hwa University of Medical Technology, Tainan 71703, Taiwan


Received: October 29, 2019
Revised: April 17, 2020
Accepted: June 15, 2020

 Copyright The Author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are cited.

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Huang, S.H., Kuo, Y.M., Lin, C.W., Chen, P.C. and Chen, C.C. (2020). Characterization of Aerosol Emission from Single-film Rupture in a Tube. Aerosol Air Qual. Res.


  • The curvature of the film moving in the tube affects the aerosol count.
  • There exists an optimal rising velocity which generates highest aerosol count.
  • The larger tube diameter, the larger and more film-mediated particles.
  • The higher surface tension, the fewer and smaller the particles.


Recent studies have reported the generation of aerosols by ‘silent’ tidal breathing through bronchiole fluid film burst (BFFB), which involves mucus meniscus or film rupture in terminal bronchioles. To simulate the BFFB mechanism and comprehend the characteristics of aerosol generation under normal breathing, a single film generation system was set up. Tube diameters ranging from 0.7 to 2.94 cm were employed to simulate the bronchioles. A liquid film was applied on the tube bottom and filtered carrier air was supplied to move the film upward in the tube. The total aerosols were counted by a condensation particle counter. The number size distributions (0.6-20 mm) of aerosols generated from film bursting were measured using an aerodynamic particle sizer. Experimental results show that rising velocity, rise distance, surface tension and tube diameter all affect the total aerosol count and particle size distribution from a single film bursting. The total aerosol count increased with film rising velocity until 3 cm s-1, and then decreased with a rising velocity between 3 and 5 cm s-1. This phenomenon was mainly due to an increase in film curvature with an increase in rising velocity. Moreover, the greater the tube diameter, the higher the particle count produced from a single film bursting was. By adding 0.9% NaCl solution to increase the surface tension, the total aerosol count from film bursting decreased with increasing surface tension for both soap and mucus. This approach seems worthwhile to explore further for reducing the propagation of infectious diseases in healthcare facilities.

Keywords: Bronchiole fluid film burst; Film aerosols; Rising velocity; Surface tension.

Aerosol Air Qual. Res. 20:-. 

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