Are the tunnel ventilation systems adapted for the different risk situations?

Published:  19 April, 2010

The ventilation design criteria for both road and rail tunnel is based on the design fire defined by the standards and the general knowledge about smoke propagation. The problem of such an approach is that it considers only the impact on the safety ventilation of the smoke propagation and dispersion inside the tunnel excluding other possible accident.

However some other situations, such as toxic gas release, are possible and even if the aim is not to design the ventilation on other dangerous phenomena with a lower occurrence frequency, it must be ensure that the ventilation system does not increase the consequences of the accident. Mainly, the problem of toxic gas dispersion is pointed out in this paper. Because of the large variety of dangerous materials that can transit in tunnel, the probability of an accident that impacts a toxic transport cannot be neglected. In the worst case scenario, such as a massive release of high toxic gases, the ventilation is useless because of the toxic quantity that induces a large number of deaths inside the tunnel. However, when the toxic release is lower and ventilation can be used, having in mind that toxic gas is generally heavy gas or a cold gas, the behaviour will of course be different than the one of smoke and the ventilation system may not be adapted for such a situation. This case has scarcely been studied yet.

In this study, both experimental approach and numerical tools were used to improve the global understanding of dense gas dispersion in underground infrastructure such as road tunnels. The experimental work was achieved in the INERIS fire gallery which represents a 50 m long 1/3rd scale tunnel using Argon. It was achieved for different leaks conditions in order to appreciate the dense gas natural behaviour. This work has also enabled the comparison between experimental work and CFD calculation with FDS code for the particular application of dense gas dispersion. . The work was extended to some other configurations and geometry in order to simulate real scale situation with different kind of gases : a highly toxic dense gas such as Chlorine, a light gas stored as a liquid at a very low temperature such as Ammonia, and a gas which remains liquid at ambient temperature and pressure and is drained into an evaporating pool such as Acrolein. This work will consider the natural behaviour of the gases and the influence of longitudinal ventilation both inside and outside of the tunnel.

  • Operation Florian

Sign up: eMagazine & eNewsletter

The latest issues in your inbox.

Company Profiles

Waterax - We move water

Trusted by wildland firefighters around the world, WATERAX sets the industry standard by developing innovative, portable fire pumps and water-handling equipment designed to withstand demanding applications and rugged environments.

Big Water Flow for Industrial and Municipal Firefighting Applications

Protecting the lives of the public and firefighters while limiting the structural damage caused in large scale fires is our primary mission

We are committed to improving lives and doing business in the right way

We have a unique mix of capability and culture that we refer to as 3M Science and we strive to develop products that improve people’s daily lives in a multitude of ways.

HazSim - Bringing situational HazMat training to life

HazSim, LLC provides innovative simulation training to ensure your team works safely and effectively. HazSim Pro simulation equipment is in use by hundreds of fire departments, training schools, industrial fire teams, and private trainers across the US, Canada and further afield as well as the US Army.

The ultimate in innovation, quality and service

For 60 years Lehavot has been delivering the world’s most advanced fire detection and suppression automatic systems

Advancing rescue technology

The specialist supplier of quality PPE and Rescue Equipment to Emergency Services.

Revolutionizing fire fighting foam technology

The one-stop resource for fire fighting foam concentrates and custom-designed foam suppression systems hardware.

Trust the best, let us be your foam solution

AUXQUIMIA is a Spanish company whose main activity is the design, manufacture and commercialization of firefighting foam concentrates.

Williams Fire & Hazard Control offers a full line of specialized fire response equipment for oil and gas platforms

From storage tanks and pipeline emergencies to offshore platforms and vessels at sea, Williams' response personnel and specialized equipment quickly address adverse fire emergencies.

The leader in truck-mounted hydraulic platforms

Our mission is to provide the best and the safest solution to professionals that work at height.

If you want quality, you want Zico

Since its inception Ziamatic Corp has provided the men and women of the fire service with products designed to make their jobs safer and easier.

The independent alternative

Dafo Fomtec AB is a privately owned company with head office in Stockholm Sweden and manufacturing in Helsingborg in the south of Sweden.