Numerical simulation of transport of particles emitted from ground-level area source using AERMOD and CFD

Henry F. Bonifacio, Ronaldo G. Maghirang, Larry A. Glasgow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Fugitive sources, including animal feeding operations, can contribute significantly to particulate pollution and cause environmental and health problems. Transport of particles emitted from these sources can be simulated using atmospheric dispersion models and computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This study evaluated the capability of AERMOD, the U.S. EPA preferred dispersion model, in modeling transport of particles emitted from area sources by comparing it to CFD. The two models responded similarly to effects of atmospheric stability and wind speed. AERMOD calculated lower downwind particle concentrations than CFD. In addition, predicted particle concentrations at locations downwind of the source remained constant with height in AERMOD but varied with height in CFD. Comparison of convection and diffusion rates simulated in CFD indicated that the assumptions on transport processes in AERMOD are suitable for modeling dispersion for area sources. However, estimated values for eddy diffusivity in crosswind and vertical directions were much higher in AERMOD than in CFD, which may explain the low concentrations predicted by the dispersion model and contribute to the difference in their calculated downwind concentrations and simulated concentration profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)488-502
Number of pages15
JournalEngineering Applications of Computational Fluid Mechanics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Ground-level area source
  • OpenFOAM
  • Particle dispersion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Modeling and Simulation

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