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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W009889/1
Title: Investigation of the removal and dispersal of infectious agents in dental clinics
Principal Investigator: Eames, Professor I
Other Investigators:
Moeendarbary, Professor E Suvan, Dr J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mechanical Engineering
Organisation: UCL
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2022 Ends: 31 August 2023 Value (£): 402,770
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fluid Dynamics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Oct 2021 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 6 and 7 October 2021 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Going to the dentist is a common experience with about million dental procedures undertaken each year. Since the teeth consist of some of the hardest material in the human body, its manipulation and treatment involving using high speed and high powered dental instruments including drills and ultrasonic scalers. These instruments are driven pneumatically by high speed air flows and since they generate heat (which can damage dental tissue) they are cooled with water jets. The combination of moving liquids and air near rapidly rotating/vibrating surfaces has the potential to generate large clouds of droplets and fine particles (aerosols). The health care challenge is that cloud has the potential to contain infectious agents (viruses, bacteria) removed from surfaces of the mouth and spread within a room.

The science of infectious agents being created and spread is complex and there are some major gaps missing in our understanding, particularly we do not know how much of the dispersed aerosol cloud contains infectious material. In order to reduce the spreading risk, we need to improve the science of removal and dispersal in the air. This interdisciplinary study brings engineers, computational scientists, dentists, equipment manufacturers to interface together to answer many of the leading questions. The scientific outcome of the project will be translated to dental clinics through evaluation/ mitigation of the risk. This science-rich project has a pathway to impact embedded within the work programme. The pathway is created by working with clinical scientists and community dentists, who have established links to professional bodies.

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