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Cough and sneeze time!

22 November 2012 No Comment

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A potential customer in Florida said they would purchase a Spraytec system if we could show that we can measure the droplets in both a cough and a sneeze.

I was with another Malvern Engineer at a customer site at the time, with a brand new Spraytec in their lab. The other Engineer was able to produce some good coughs, and we obtained nice data on the droplets using the Spraytec. But neither of us could find a sneeze.

The next morning we took some pepper from the hotel’s breakfast buffet, to help coax out a sneeze. We arrived at the customer site very early, and went to the lab. I inhaled pepper…but no sneeze. I inhaled more pepper, until my nose felt like it was going to explode, but no sneeze. The lab workers started to enter, and the sneeze finally appeared as well, with considerable force. I clicked “Measure” and sneezed towards the laser beam, with no effort at all to cover my face, of course, as the droplets had to reach the laser beam. One of the lab people saw this and exclaimed “THAT WAS SO DISGUSTING!!”. I told her it was all in the name of science, and we spent 10 minutes cleaning the Spraytec and lab bench with disinfectant, and apologizing for my very bad cold.

The cough and sneeze data was made into a report, presented to the customer in Florida, and they purchased a Spraytec! 3 years later I told the lab manager why I had sneezed in such a rude way, and she laughed. No attempt was made to measure the droplets from laughing.