Accommodating Smoking in Airport Terminals

Deerns Nederland B.V.

Many airport operators would however like to accommodate both the non-smoker and the smoker. A popular approach is to provide dedicated smoking rooms. Whilst this protects the non-smokers, it usually reduces revenues from food & beverage outlets, specifically bars.

Using the right techniques and tools in the early stages of the HVAC design of a terminal building it is possible to accommodate smokers in open, public areas with minimal hindrance to other passengers and staff. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) can help to visualize various design options and choose the optimum configuration. Equally important it allows the Client to understand the background of the design and see the results with his own eyes.

Smoke Concentrations
At the moment there is no unambiguous definition of acceptable concentrations of cigarette smoke. It is therefore important to specify the required quality of the (air) solution before deciding on the principle of ventilation needed. An important evaluation criterion is the amount of required reduction of source concentrations of the smoking area related to the smoke concentrations in the non-smoking zone area. In open spaces of airports a reduction target of 10 to 20 of the source concentration can be achieved compared to the concentrations of the immediate surroundings of the smoking area. A reduction target of 20 is achievable when all the air from a large enclosure is extracted via the exhaust above the smoking area. For instance, when the source concentration of smoke in the smoking zone is 10 µg/m3 nicotine a reduction to 5% (factor 20) results in a nicotine concentration of 0,5 µg/m3 (detection limit). However, to prevent the scent of smoke, reductions of concentrations should be reduced far below 1‰.

Accomodating Smoking in Airport Terminals

Design Principles
Main principles of reduction of tobacco smoke are:

  • Try to place all air-exhausts above the smoking area
  • Apply displacement ventilation
  • Locate the air supply devices in the non-smoking area
  • Enlarge the ventilation rate up to 10 or more if possible
  • Place the smoking area in a corner or near a wall, where there is little air movement
  • Make use of heat sources in the smoking area - such as radiators or sun-heated façades - to induce the air into the direction of the exhaust-ducts
  • Provide partition walls or specific smoking rooms if possible

Generally, one should aim at establishing air currents that remove the contaminated air from the occupied spaces, and prevent smoke from drifting into the breathing zones of people.

Case Study
One of the solutions for airports is to supply fresh air outside the smoking area from the ceiling as close as possible to the non-smoking occupants:

Displacement system for large enclosures
Figure 1: Displacement system for large enclosures

The effectiveness of this system is also determined by the amount of extracted air via the exhaust. To prevent unnecessary heat loss and smoke contamination of fresh incoming air as well a (high efficiency) twincoil system is recommended. The quality of the solution can be predicted during the design process with CFD-simulations and can be measured on the site afterwards.

The following figures contain examples from CFD studies for a major European Airport where the task was to accommodate smoking zones within an open departure lounge area. The intent is to contain tobacco smoke within the designated area.

Example 1: Smoking in a corner

Figure 2: Air supply system around a smoking area.
Figure 2: Air supply system around a smoking area.
Figure 3: It is most effective to place the smoking area in a rectangular corner outside dominating, generally natural, air currents.
Figure 3: It is most effective to place the smoking area in a rectangular corner outside dominating, generally natural, air currents.

Example 2: Smoking in a corner near the façade

 

Figure 4: Analysis of smoke diffusion.
Figure 4: Analysis of smoke diffusion. The blue colour is a concentration of 5% of the source concentration. In this case the location of the smoking area is in a corner near the façade. The position of exhaust is above the smokers.
Figure 5: The boundaries of the smoking area are presented where the concentration is more then 5% of the source concentration (C1=0,05).
Figure 5: The boundaries of the smoking area are presented where the concentration is more then 5% of the source concentration (C1=0,05).
Figure 6: The smoke concentration at the red probe is below 1‰ (probe value), so for instance for check-in desk workers there will be little annoyance.
Figure 6: The smoke concentration at the red probe is below 1‰ (probe value), so for instance for check-in desk workers there will be little annoyance.

Conclusion
The above figures show that using CFD simulation and visualization provides easy insight into the expected results. The simulation results demonstrate that proper positioning of the smoking area, combined with a good ventilation design, gives a situation where smoking can be allowed whilst ensuring that smoke concentrations outside the area are close to or below the level detectable by humans.

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