Standard Article

Dispersion in Confined Spaces

Physical Processes

  1. Mr M. Phillips

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/9780470057339.vad028

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

Encyclopedia of Environmetrics

How to Cite

Phillips, M. 2006. Dispersion in Confined Spaces. Encyclopedia of Environmetrics. 1.

Author Information

  1. London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006


The release of a gas or some other form of airborne substance into a confined space can present some form of hazard. Some gases are, for example, inherently toxic while others may result in hazardous conditions because they displace the oxygen necessary for normal respiration. In either case, an appreciation of the processes that result in the dispersion of the substance around the space is likely to be essential to a full understanding of the hazard present. Gases or airborne particles can be dispersed in confined spaces by a variety of physical processes. Which process or processes dominate in any particular situation depends on many factors. The most significant factors are normally the nature of the dispersing substance, the prevailing conditions in the space in which it disperses, and the geometry of the space. Since conditions such as air movements and ventilation rates are difficult to estimate or measure precisely and comprehensively, estimates made can rarely be relied on to provide highly precise data. Nevertheless, the techniques described in this article do provide valuable means of analyzing and quantifying the likely consequences of the release of gaseous or airborne substances in a confined space, albeit in broad terms rather than precise ones.