Riskaware unveils new dispersion model for indoor spaces - Riskaware

Riskaware unveils new dispersion model for indoor spaces

Bristol-based incident modelling and data science specialists, Riskaware, have recently released a new fast-executing computer modelling tool for simulating the dispersion of airborne pollutants within indoor spaces. The model has been released under an open source licence, meaning that it can be exploited by scientific teams or system integrators worldwide.

The Rapid Indoor Dispersion Tool (RIDT) was developed by Riskaware under contract to the Defence Science Technology Laboratory (Dstl) in the UK, who have Crown Copyright, but it is being released via Riskaware’s open-source repository under the open source MIT Licence (Expat) to expand its availability and enable a wide range of real-world use cases.

Image of a concentration plot produced by RIDT
Figure 1: A concentration plot produced by RIDT

Application of the modelling methodology used in RIDT (eddy diffusion) was recently published by Dstl in the scientific literature [1] and the Dstl scientific team was closely involved during the software development. The two organisations have a long history of collaborating on similar projects; including the creation of a suite of modelling tools, provided within Riskaware’s UrbanAware offering. The open-source software repository and all documentation are easily accessible online and the model can be installed using the Python Package Index.

Dr James de Lisle, who coordinated the development at Riskaware, explained “the model is lightweight and powerful, allowing us to predict the effect of different types of pollutant release, in combination, within a room. It provides a range of model outputs, including visualisations that allow the user to understand the effect of ventilation and room size on peak concentration and overall dose experienced.”

Tim Foat, the technical lead from Dstl said, “Riskaware have produced a tool which will allow us to apply the eddy diffusion modelling technique to a range of hazard assessment problems. The simple user interface will enable us to tackle a variety of problems more efficiently and with a higher level of confidence than we were previously able to.”

While the model was designed to simulate neutrally buoyant gaseous releases, it could readily be enhanced to consider small aerosol transport and hence be used to model the airborne spread of COVID-19 in indoor environments. In its current form it already provides useful insights into how important good ventilation is for reducing the dosage to which people are exposed, within a room where infectious material or airborne pollutants are a concern.

Martyn Bull, Technical Director at Riskaware stated: “We are grateful to Dstl for commissioning and overseeing this work, which has allowed us to develop a very useful capability that is now available for wider release. Our future plans now include integrating the RIDT capability into our next generation information management system, UrbanAware, to provide hazard modelling in indoor environments.”

Martyn Bull added “We are always excited to find new ways of using our modelling and algorithmic expertise to add value within different sectors and to address important challenges within the indoor air pollution arenas. This project further reinforces Riskaware’s belief in open source as a way of bringing useful technologies into wider use.”

Alongside the plans to use RIDT within its in-house incident modelling platform, Riskaware are happy to discuss the integration of the model into other third-party applications.

Get in touch to find out more about RIDT and how it can work with your existing solutions.

1. T Foat, J Drodge, J Nally, S Parker, “A relationship for the diffusion coefficient in eddy diffusion based indoor dispersion modelling”, Building and Environment Volume 169, February 2020, 106591

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