Oh That Smell: SU Professor's Solution to Air Quality on Airplanes

Dec 23, 2014

This is a diagram demonstrating how the proposed overhead suction air circulating system would work
  Lots of people will be traveling into and out of Central New York this holiday by planes, trains and buses.  And many of them might be seated next to someone with too much cologne or someone who just ate garlic and anchovy pizza or one who’s done more traveling than showering recently.  You know, a passenger that smells. 

 A Syracuse University Professor might have a solution.  Thong Dang in mechanical and Aerospace Engineering considers those undesirable smells contaminants. “ The idea the removing the contaminant in aircraft cabin is the source would be the passenger, it could be perfume that you do not like the smell among other things. You want to remove that locally but you do not want to take too much air out because as you know the aircraft is pressurized.” He compares his idea to a kitchen hood that might get rid of smells, instead of blowing them around with the fans above the head of most passengers in planes and other transit.  

Half the air in a plane is recirculated and half is free and Dang says that is an opportunity to clean just enough of the air.  

“Of course anything is possible, there is a cost associated with it. If you flew lately you will see the economy seat is getting thinner and smaller. In order to do this you do need space in the seat for plumbing that you need to bring the air out. You have to find some airlines that are willing to do this” Dang figures first class and business class seats might be a better bet.  Testing on the technology did find it removed 50-to-70-percent of contaminants – you know, smell.  He was able to research this because SU got an EPA grant for indoor air quality.