Airborne diseases transmitted through tiny respiratory droplets such as the Coronavirus disease can not only rapidly infect others but also worsen the symptoms in already affected individuals. People with COVID-19 are more likely to develop severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS through aspiration pneumonia, which refers to when some virus-laden droplets are inhaled into the airway and lungs. This project aims to study droplet behavior in the upper airway in order to investigate methods to reduce the risk of infected droplets entering the upper airway in a patient. The project involves the design and development of a cough emulator that can simulate a human cough accurately, build a physical model of the upper airway using a material similar in texture to the human windpipe, and measure and track the generated particles as they transverse through the upper airway and exit the mouth. The criteria needed to be met to design, manufacture, and evaluate a cough emulator reproducing a human-like cough include the volume, pressure, and flow rate of a cough. To evaluate the validity and accuracy of the device, the number, size, and spread of cough droplets are compared to that of a real cough. The upper airway is fabricated using Elastic 50A resin due to its flexible and durable properties, and texture similarity to the tissue of the human trachea. In addition, particles are tracked in the upper airway using a Charged Couple Device (CCD) Camera.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Gou, Jihua


Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.M.E.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Degree Program

Mechanical Engineering



Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Release Date