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A CFD-based approach to study the deposition and distribution behaviour of 212Pb in a calibration chamber

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Among the several aspects of decay products behavior, deposition is of special significance because of its prominent role in the activity removal from the environment, which eventually results in the occurrence of decay product disequilibrium with the parent gas. This point is particularly important in case of thoron dosimetry where thoron progeny 212Pb accounts for the most of the radiological dose. The deposition depends on the size distribution of decay products and the structure of air turbulence at the air-surface interface. In the present work, the effect of varying air-flow (fan speed) and aerosol count median diameter (CMD) was studied on the deposition and distribution profile of 212Pb using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The simulations have been carried out in a cubical calibration chamber of volume 8 m3, facilitated at RP&AD, BARC. Simulated results showed that the increase of total depositional loss rate of attached fraction of 212Pb due to increase of the fan speed was significant for CMD up to 400 nm, beyond which this effect started becoming less prominent with increasing diameter. Besides, a minimum of the total depositional loss rate curve was seen to be shifted to the higher CMD with increase of the fan speed. CFD results were found to be in good agreement with experimental observations obtained in the controlled conditions with thoron source.

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The datasets used and/or analyzed during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.


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All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data generation, and analysis were performed by Tarun Kumar Agarwal, Rosaline Mishra, and Balvinder Kaur Sapra. The first draft of the manuscript was written by Tarun Kumar Agarwal and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Tarun Kumar Agarwal.

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• CFD simulations to study the deposition and distribution profiles of 212Pb in a calibration chamber.

• Estimation of deposition velocity for varying median diameter and fan speeds.

• Significant variation of friction velocity on the inner surfaces of the chamber.

• Analysis of the role of friction velocity and gravitational settling on the depositional patterns.

• Experimental validation of CFD outcomes.

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Agarwal, T.K., Mishra, R. & Sapra, B.K. A CFD-based approach to study the deposition and distribution behaviour of 212Pb in a calibration chamber. Environ Sci Pollut Res 30, 46950–46959 (2023).

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