Kansas State Researchers Working to Keep Airliner Air Quality Healthy, Safe

Researchers have begun various projects to understand and mitigate environmental health issues on airplanes.


Jones said air quality on planes has been a concern since the 1980s when a study by the National Research Council mandated planes go non-smoking, among other recommendations. However, no funding was put into place to follow up on the additional recommendations. Another National Research Council study, on which Jones served in 2001, led to more recommendations. Coincidentally, that report came out around Sept. 11, 2001, when air safety also was being brought to the forefront. Two mandates came from Congress to the Federal Aviation Administration to address both air quality and safety, and they were combined into funding to begin K-State's Center of Excellence.

Jones and other K-Staters have been studying transportation environments, including automobiles, aircraft, trains and buses, for more than 15 years through the university's Institute for Environmental Research, the longest standing research institute on the indoor environment in the world. Jones also has been working with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers to help develop an air quality standard for the airline industry for more than 10 years.

"An efficient, high quality and safe air transportation system is absolutely essential for this country," Jones said. "The Air Transportation Center for Airline Cabin Environment Research will play an important role in meeting this need. K-State has joined a team of the very best scientists and research programs to help make a safer air transportation system possible."

The center has received approximately $10 million in funding to date through the Federal Aviation Administration. After three years, the center will be reviewed and its work assessed.

Other K-Staters who aid in center research include mechanical and nuclear engineering faculty members Mohammad Hosni, professor and head of the department; Steve Eckels, associate professor and director of the Institute for Environmental Research; Kirby Chapman, professor and director of the National Gas Machinery Laboratory; Terry Beck, professor; and Charlie Zheng, associate professor.

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NOTE TO EDITORS: Similar articles on what K-State is doing to make America safer available at http://www.mediarelations.k-state.edu/WEB/News/Webzine/Safetyandsec urity /index.html.

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