One of this year’s Crystal Cabin Awards nominees – Pexco’s AirShield (which was designed by Teauge) – reached out for a discussion about their technology. I went to have a look at this innovation.
What’s the idea?
We all know that HEPA filters are installed aboard aircraft. The idea is that the Airsheild goes where the air distributors go, creating a downward shield of air.
The team at Teague recreated A320 and B737 airflow environments using Computational Fluid Dynamics, finding the vertical flow divides the cabins in half, creating a lingering swirl of air between neighbouring passengers in all directions. By simulating the movement of respiratory particles in one breath (velocity 1.5m/s) from the window, middle, and aisle seats, we identified significant potential for lateral transmission between passengers (With the window seat being the worst place to sit).
Teauge’s simulations and fog testing illustrated similar results—that the lateral barriers created by AirShield effectively prevent the transmission of respiratory droplets from row to row and between neighbouring passengers.
What do they look like?
It is designed to be visible, rather than blending into the cabin
Here it is in a 737 Cabin.
Where do they go?
They are installed in the overhead passenger unit, over the current air distributors. In the case of the 737, this bolts on over the current units. In the case of the A320 family, these need to be plumped into the system.
Meanwhile, on the 737, it slips over the current air distributors.
And it fitted in the cabin, again on a Boeing 737
How does it feel in use?
From a perception viewpoint, it feels like a gentle breeze going downwards, as opposed to a direct breeze that you would normally get off an air blower – with it a subtle, but gentle effect.
According to Pexco, there’s been great interest in the product, with airlines pondering how to show this off and use it as a selling point of their aircraft.
As we exit the pandemic stage, questions will be asked of airlines about what innovations they want to take forward, and which to leave behind. Let us not forget the number of operators and dividers that were ready to go and conceptualised during the height of 2020… and airlines in the end went “nope”, leaving them behind and choosing density instead.
It’s that sort of challenge that Pexco and Teague will have to address, and show it adds value to the cabin, be it in terms of safety, cost and ease of deployment.
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