Door operation and the subsequent passage of occupants through the doorway can cause containment failures in hospital isolation rooms. Typically hinged doors are used between the isolation room and anteroom/corridor in healthcare facilities. However, sliding doors can reduce door induced airflows through the doorway and hence effectively reduce the contaminant outflow during the door operation.
Airflow patterns through single hinged and sliding doors, in combination with human passage (simulated with a moving mannequin), inside a full-scale hospital isolation room mock-up, were compared. The experiments were carried out in still air (i.e. without ventilation) in order to examine the effect of different factors without the masking effect of ventilation. Smoke visualizations were performed to qualitatively illustrate airflow through the doorway. Tracer gas measurements were carried out to quantify the air exchange between rooms caused by door operation and passage.
Smoke visualization indicated that the sliding door induce a smaller air exchange through the doorway compared to a hinged door. The effect of passage was found to be notable, yet more distinguishable with the sliding door. Airflow volumes through the hinged door varied from 1.2 m3 to 2.4 m3 and through the sliding door from 0.3 m3 to 2.3 m3, depending on parameter values. The effect of passage was found to be around 0.4 m3. Although the passage increased the air exchange across the doorway, its effect was relatively much larger for the sliding than for the hinged door.