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Computational Fluid Dynamics Research

Mathematical Modeling and Common Respiratory Treatments

What’s Involved in this Research?

We propose a new therapy rig, composed of commonly available equipment, to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals. Instead of allowing pathogens to leave a patient, forcing workers and scientists to struggle with containing them, the emission of infected droplets is nearly eliminated.

A systematic scientific evaluation of various design concepts and environmental conditions has been created to demonstrate and optimize the rig.

The new rig is a composite of two proven technologies: Vapotherm’s HVNITM nasal cannula plus a common flexible PVC mask used for oxygen support for patients not requiring ventilators.

Instead of using the PVC mask for its typical goal, the oxygen supply line to the mask is replaced with a standard hospital suction line. The swapping of these lines was originally proposed as the “Felix 1” from Presbyterian Hospital in Brooklyn, but in this case, we supply the oxygen via HVNI.

All components are reusable, so only one rig per patient is needed. Preliminary tests of this concept showed that this particular combination performed better at preventing the spread of disease than a hypothetical zero-leakage surgical mask. The next step is to dramatically increase the rigor and scope of the model via the following improvements:  more than one patient in a hospital room, two caregivers per patient, all people breathing dynamically, and a dramatically more resolved model.

How Students Benefit

Students gain experience with the physics of fluid motion, particle-droplet interactions, human anatomy, biological processes, contemporary public issues, and managing thousands of computer CPUs in the cloud.

A Ph.D. student is leading the initial construction of the model and managing the computational effort on our cloud-based computers.

Dr. Strasser leads a research program here at Liberty called “FLUID,” which stands for “Fluids at Liberty University for Innovation and Design.”  “Fluids,” in this case, refers to study of dynamic motions of liquids, gases, and granular solids we find in many biological, physical, chemical, industrial, and engineering systems.

He works with graduate and undergraduate students in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), which is the the use of around-the-clock mathematical modeling on hundreds of computers to solve complex problems involving the movement of energy, mass, and momentum.

Research Professor

Dr. Wayne Strasser

Dr. Wayne Strasser
B.S., M.S., Ph.D., P.E.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Google Scholar Profile

Impact on Society

We will systematically evaluate, and then make available to the public, a design involving a turn-key solution to preventing the spread of COVID-19 in hospitals.

In the News


  • Leonard, Strasser, Whittle, DeBellis, Prichard, Atwood, and Dungan. 2020. Reducing Aerosol Dispersion by High Flow Therapy in COVID-19: High Resolution Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulations of Particle Behavior during High Velocity Nasal Insufflation with a Simple Surgical Mask. Journal of the American College of Emergency Physicians
  • Leonard, Atwood, Walsh, DeBellis, Dungan, Strasser, Whittle. 2020. Preliminary Findings of Control of Dispersion of Aerosols and Droplets during High Velocity Nasal Insufflation Therapy Using a Simple Surgical Mask: Implications for High Flow Nasal Cannula. CHEST
  • Strasser. 2019. The War on Liquids: Disintegration and Reaction by Enhanced Pulsed Blasting. Chemical Engineering Science 216; 115458
  • Strasser. 2018. Oxidation-Assisted Pulsating Three-Stream Non-Newtonian Slurry Atomization For Energy Production. Chemical Engineering Science 196; 214-224.
  • Strasser and Battaglia. 2018. Pulsating Slurry Atomization, Film Thickness, and Azimuthal Instabilities. Atomization and Sprays 28; 643-672.
  • Strasser and Strasser. 2017. Challenging Paradigms by Optimizing Combustible Dust Separator. Journal of Fluids Engineering 140(7).
  • Strasser and Battaglia. 2017. The Effects of Prefilming Length and Feed Rate on Compressible Flow in a Self-Pulsating Injector. Atomization and Sprays 27; 929-947.
  • Strasser and Battaglia. 2017. The Effects of Pulsation and Retraction on Non-Newtonian Flows in Three-Stream Injector Atomization Systems. Chemical Engineering Journal 309, 532–544.
  • Strasser and Battaglia. 2016. Identification of Pulsation Mechanism in a Transonic Three-Stream Airblast Injector. Journal of Fluids Engineering 138(11).
  • Strasser and Battaglia. 2016. The Influence of Retraction on Three-Stream Injector Pulsatile Atomization for Air-Water Systems. Journal of Fluids Engineering 138(11).
  • Strasser and Chamoun. 2014. Wall Temperature Considerations in a Two-Stage Swirl Non-premixed Furnace, Progress in Computational Fluid Dynamics 14, No. 6, 386-397.
  • Dhakal, Walters, and Strasser. 2013. Numerical Study of Gas-Cyclone Air Flow: An Investigation of Turbulence Modeling Approaches. International Journal of CFD 28, 1-15.
  • Strasser and Wonders. 2011. Commercial Scale Slurry Bubble Column Reactor Hydro-Kinetic Optimization. AIChE Journal 58, 3; 946-956.
  • Strasser. Towards the Optimization of a Three-Stream Coaxial Airblast Injector. International Journal of Multiphase Flow 37, 7; 831-844.
  • Strasser. 2010. CFD Study of an Evaporative Trickle Bed Reactor: Mal-distribution and Thermal Runaway Induced by Feed Disturbances. Chemical Engineering Journal 161, 257-268.
  • Strasser. 2010. Cyclone-ejector coupling and Optimisation. Progress in Computational Fluid Dynamics 10, 19-31.
  • Strasser. 2008. Discrete particle study of turbulence coupling in a confined jet gas-liquid separator. Journal of Fluids Engineering 130, 1 –11.
  • Strasser. 2007. CFD Investigation of Gear Pump Mixing Using Deforming/Agglomerating Mesh. Journal of Fluids Engineering 129, 476 – 484.


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