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Aerosol Generation by Cough - FY07

NOTE: This page is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.


  • The objective this project is to characterize the size and quantity of aerosol produced during human coughs, and to measure how well surgical masks and N95 respirators block the dissemination of cough-generated aerosols
Cough Generation testing device diagram

Applicable Standards

  • Modified Greene-Vesley BFE test
  • ASTM F2101-01

Key Partners

  • West Virginia University-numerical modeling of aerosol generation by cough, field study of cough aerosol generation


  • Health care workers
  • Emergency responders

Project Scope

  • For FY07, the project will test and range of masks and respirators, and begin collecting data on aerosol generation during human coughs


  • Completion of initial round of mask and respirator tests
  • Characterization of cough-generated aerosols from healthy subjects
  • Development of CFD model of aerosol generation during coughing


  • Publication of results from masks and respirator tests
  • Publication of initial results from cough-generated aerosol study
  • Publication of CFD model of aerosol generation during coughing


  • Greater scientific understanding of aerosol generation by cough
  • Better understanding of the effectiveness of different surgical masks and N95 respirators at preventing airborne transmission of infectious diseases
  • Recommendations for more effective prevention strategies to protect the health of emergency first responders and healthcare providers
  • Information to assist manufacturers in improving the design of masks and respirators intended to block cough-generated aerosols.
Page last modified: July 20, 2007
Page last reviewed: July 20, 2007 (archived document)
Content Source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)