Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Engineering (M.S.E.)

Degree Program

School of Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Wael Mokhtar

Second Advisor

Dr. Mehmet Sozen

Third Advisor

Sr. Yunju Lee

Academic Year



An operation room is a critical environment when it comes to the safety of patients undergoing surgery. There are a lot of factors that go into reducing Surgical Site Infections (SSI) following a surgery. This comes in the form of cleaning standards, surgical practices, but also environment controls. The characteristics of airflow within an operation room are related to the risk of an SSI. Some of these factors are temperature, velocity, and turbulent air around an open wound which could increase the chance of bacteria or other particles entering the very vulnerable patient. As clean room standards continue to be developed it is important that the engineering of the environment follows. A standard operation room is typically equipped with one large laminar diffuser array directly above the surgical table. The purpose of this array is to provide a constant downward stream of air at high enough velocity so that air flows down and away from the open wound. However, surgical equipment or medical staff disrupt this flow and the increase possibility of bacteria spreading.

The purpose of this thesis is to explore the viability of adding air curtains around the typical laminar diffuser array. These air curtains act as another barrier to re-circulation happening in the environment around the surgical table. By completing several simulations analyzing how airflow is affected with the introduction of air curtains and changing their characteristics a recommendation for their use could be developed.

The characteristics of interest are exit configuration, number and positioning of exit vents, location of air curtain, air changes per hour, air curtain exhaust angle, and slot thickness.