Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Modelling of transient flows in tunnel fires

Our most recent paper on tunnel fires has just been published in the journal Computers and Fluids. The title is:

The paper applies a transient multiscale approach to model ventilation flows and fires in a long tunnel. It couples dynamically a Computational Fluid Dynamics solver with a simple 1D model, allowing for a more rational use of the computational resources without loss of accuracy.

Schematic of the multiscale model of the1.2 km tunnel from portal to portal and including 10 jet fans pairs. The CFD domain of the fire region contains temperature contours showing the fire plume.

After all the fundamentals of the coupling are discussed, the methodology is applied to study the unsteady flow interaction between a growing fire and a ramping-up ventilation system in a modern tunnel (7 m diameter, 1.2 km long). To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time than a growing fire and a growing ventilation are studied together. The results allow for simultaneous optimization of the ventilation and detection systems, and allows engineering answers to questions that could not be posed before by tunnel designers.

Longitudinal velocity field computed 180 s after fire ignition (60 s after ventilation activation) for three ventilation scenarios (3, 5 or 10 jet fan pairs respectively). Velocity values are expressed in m/s.

The work is a continuation of the collaboration between Politecnico di Torino and University of Edinburgh led by Dr Francesco Colella (the work is based on this 2010 thesis "Multiscale modelling of tunnel ventilation flows and fires").

NOTE: An earlier paper related to this received the 2010 Lloyd's Science of Risk Prize.