Theses and Dissertations



Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cho, Heejin

Committee Member

Bhushan, Shanti

Committee Member

Li, Like

Committee Member

Riveros, Guillermo A.

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Mechanical Engineering


Clean air is a global health concern. Each year more than seven million people across the globe perish from breathing poor quality air. Development of high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters demonstrate an effort to mitigate dangerous aerosol hazards at the point of production. The nuclear power industry installs HEPA filters as a final line of containment of hazardous particles. Advancement air filtration technology is paramount to achieving global clean air. An exploration of analytical, experimental, computational, and machine learning models is presented in this dissertation to advance the science of air filtration technology. This dissertation studies, develops, and analyzes alternative air filtration materials and methods of analysis that optimize filtration efficiency and reduce resistance to air flow. Alternative nonwoven filter materials are considered for use in HEPA filtration. A detailed review of natural and synthetic fibers is presented to compare mechanical, thermal, and chemical properties of fibers to desirable characteristics for air filtration media. An experimental effort is undertaken to produce and evaluate new nanofibrous air filtration materials through electrospinning. Electrospun and stabilized nanofibrous media are visually analyzed through optical imaging and tested for filtration efficiency and air flow resistance. The single fiber efficiency (SFE) analytical model is applied to air filtration media for the prediction of filtration efficiency and air flow resistance. Digital twin replicas of nonwoven nanofibrous media are created using computer scripting and commercial digital geometry software. Digital twin filters are visually compared to melt-blown and electrospun filters. Scanning electron microscopy images are evaluated using a machine learning model. A convolutional neural network is presented as a method to analyze complex geometry. Digital replication of air filtration media enables coordination among experimental, analytical, machine learning, and computational air filtration models. The value of using synthetic data to train and evaluate computational and machine learning models is demonstrated through prediction of air filtration performance, and comparison to analytical results. This dissertation concludes with discussion on potential opportunities and future work needed in the continued effort to advance clean air technologies for the mitigation of a global health and safety challenge.