Volume 5, Issue 5 (May 2008)
Measurement of Physical Environmental Parameters and Apparent Ventilation Rates Aboard Passenger Aircraft
As part of the ASHRAE RP-1262 Phase 1 study of the airliner cabin environment, measurements were made of physical environmental parameters aboard four passenger aircraft in revenue service. The objectives of these measurements were to measure physical environmental parameters and ventilation rates on board commercial airliners in revenue service and to correlate those measurements with self-reported health effects and complaints. The measurements included temperature, relative humidity, total pressure, air velocity, sound level, light level, and motion. These measurements were recorded each second throughout the flight. In addition, measurements of carbon dioxide levels in the cabin were made that, along with passenger loadings and assumed metabolic rates, allowed the calculation of an apparent air change rate. Because as another part of the study, passengers filled-out written surveys on their comfort and health experience, this study provides unique simultaneous measurement of both physical environmental parameters in an aircraft cabin and the human response. Results of these measurements are presented as temporal graphs for the duration of the flight and are compared to various benchmarks. Among the results, air change rates ranged from 10 to 16 air changes per hour, noise levels varied from 68 to 80 dBA, according to the location in the cabin. Relative humidity values declined from 30 to 35 % during the boarding process to as low as 7 to 8 % during the cruise portion of the flights. The temperature variation was greatest during the boarding process and was generally near 25°C, during the cruise portion of the flights. Over all four flights, the cabin pressure varied from 562 to 740 torr. There was a wide variation in light levels: from over 8000 lux if sunlight was present, to about 250 lux if the window shades were in use.