Photo Credit: Ansys Inc.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, many engineers are now turning to the medical field to see if their expertise can be utilized during this international crisis. Roycemore School Trustee and Parent, Aleksandra Egelja-Maruszewski, an engineer at Ansys Inc., is at the forefront of their effort to do what they can to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
An engineering simulation software company, Ansys Inc. produces engineering software that assess the effectiveness of their clients’ products in real world environments. When you touch a mobile device, drive a car, fly on an airplane, use a computer, or start a dishwasher, there is a strong chance that Ansys software was used in the design and development of that product. They also often work with medical device companies who want to get their products approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ansys’ engineers have used simulations to study the effectiveness of social distancing at various distance levels and even look at how those results differ when someone is jogging as compared to walking. The results of these simulations are then shared with healthcare workers who can see a visual demonstration of how the effectiveness of such protocols can range depending on the situation and use this information to help better inform the general public.
3 ft distance vs.6ft (Credit: Ansys)
Simulations can help visualize the difference between the subjects who correctly wear face masks, compared to subjects who don’t wear masks at all or wear them incorrectly. The mask must fit snugly to the face, which is not necessarily the case when people wear glasses: It allows unfiltered air to pass through and you increase the risk of contamination. The filtration capacity of these masks is also important. The finer the fabric you have, the more you can filter out particles and reduce the risk of droplets getting under the mask. A woolen, coarse-meshed scarf is useless. Surgical masks, for example, are not very good at filtering air from the outside.
“We are calculating how the droplets spread in the air under certain conditions using the laws of physics.. Or how you are supposed to set the mask so that the air doesn’t come out.” Egelja-Maruszewski said. “We are working on many more simulations, improving the ventilators, making sure that new prototypes of ventilators work properly and ensure proper pressure and get approved by FDA, how to scale vaccine production, designing face shields for healthcare workers, designing negative pressure rooms to minimize risk to doctors and health care staff attending to COVID-19 positive patients” she said.
It is exciting to hear how one Roycemore parent is involved in the important work of better understanding the spread of COVID-19 and testing the effectiveness of protocols that can potentially help slow the spread of this deadly disease. Besides the analysis of face masks and social distancing, Ansys is also looking into enhancing ventilators, analyzing how to optimize vaccine production, and studying technologies to improve the disinfection process.
For more information on COVID-19 protection visit the ANSYS website.