Multiscale Modelling of Tunnel Fires

Dr Guillermo Rein School of Engineering University of Edinburgh
Contributions from F Colella, R Borchiellini, V Verda, R Carvel and J Torero
www.sp.se

Valencia, June 1, 2011

This work is based on the PhD Thesis of Francesco Colella (2010) It is a joint effort between Politecnico di Torino and University of Edinburgh

“A case can be made for fire being, next to the life processes, the most complex of phenomena to understand”
Prof. Hoyt C. Hottel, MIT, 1984

Tunnels are key infrastructure
Italy Austria Swiss Germany France UK Norway Spain

Railways Roads Underground TOTAL

1200 1160 60 2420

105 210 15 330

360 140

380 70 550

650 180 270 1100

220 30 200 450

260 370 20 650

750 100 200 1050

500

1000

Lengths of EU Tunnels (km)

Tunnel Fires are rare but costly
Some important examples: Great Belt (Denmark, 1994) Channel (UK-France, 1996) Mont Blanc (Italy-France, 1999) Kaprun (Austria, 2000) Gotthard (Italy-Swiss, 2001) Channel (2006) Channel (2008) …

Tunnel Fires are rare but costly
> 400

120

100

accidents injureds casualties

80

60

40

20

0 1940 - 1969 1970 - 1979 1980 - 1989 1990 - 1999 2000 - 2007

# of events

period Colella, Multiscale Modelling of Tunnel Ventilation Flows and Fires, PhD thesis, Politecnico di Torino, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/1842/3528

Tunnel Safety Strategy
Avoid any harm to occupants and rescue teams Minimize disruption of transport and economic costs (=minimize damage to infrastructure) Tunnel fire emergencies must be managed by a global safety system and strategies capable of integrating:
1. 2. 3. 4. Detection Evacuation Ventilation - Smoke management Suppression and Fire fighting

Ventilation System
Objective: maintaining tenable conditions to allow safe evacuation and rescue procedures as well as fire fighting
Plays a crucial role within the safety strategy Most widespread safety system in tunnels Normal operating conditions: small part of the system use for maintaining visibility and pollutants at acceptable levels

Wu and Bakar 2000, FSJ

Tunnel Safety Strategy
Smoke evacuation

Forced ventilation

Safe evacuation and rescue path

Vehicle Traffic

Back-layering

Grant et al, Phil. Trans R Soc Lond A 1998

Back-layering: reverse flow of smoke against the longitudinal ventilation Critical velocity: minimum longitudinal air flow preventing back-layering
Oka and Atkinson, 1995, FSJ

Ventilations Systems
Longitudinal: forced airflow pushes smoke along the main tunnel gallery to end shaft/portal Transversal: forced airflows push/pull smoke out of gallery at distributed location to auxiliary duct system Hybrid: some combination of the two

Generating Ventilation Flows
The response of the ventilation system during a fire is a complex problem Calculation of airflows is a must designers, owners, operators and manufacturers Resulting airflow depends on combination of:
Active ventilation devices (jet fans, axial fans) Tunnel layout (long domain, section, shafts) Fire-induced flows Portal atmospheric conditions (wind, rain) Large obstacles (stopped vehicles, wreck)

Generating Ventilation Flows

1D Network model
Domain split in branches and nodes
Mass conservation in each node Momentum conservation in each branch (Bernoulli)

Fans are source of momentum (pv curves by manufacturer?) Fire is a source of heat

Fan Characteristic Curve

1D Network model
Fast simulations (within seconds in a desktop PC) Predict the global behaviour Industry uses it to explore wide design options

BUT Need calibration constants (requires full scale testing) ballpark figures (does not predict accurate behaviour) Assumes flow is 1D (not valid for fire or fans)

CFD model
Continuity:
∂ρ + ∇ ⋅ ρ u = 0` ∂t
∂t

Momentum: ∂ρu + ∇ ⋅ (ρuu ) = −∇p + ∇ ⋅ τ + ∑ S
∂ Energy: [ρE ] + ∇ ⋅ (u(ρE + p )) = ∇ ⋅ (k eff ∇T + τ eff ⋅ u ) + ∑ S E ∂t + Turbulence

CFD Fire Source
3 kW Fire: Symmetry plane
temperature: 300 350 400 450 500 550 600 650 700 Vertical Elevation [m] 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1
450
325

350

350

375

325
0 60

0.05 0 4.75

325 5.25 Longitudinal coordinate [m] 5.5 5.75

350

5

30 kW Fire: Symmetry plane

temperature: 300 350 450 550 650 750 850 950 Vertical Elevation [m] 0.25 1000 0.2 0.15 0.1 0.05 0 4.75
4

900
700

& Q(1 − λ ) & mG = c p (TG − T∞ )

30 00

5

0 0 95 60
0

700

55

550

1000 5 5.25 Longitudinal coordinate [m] 5.5 5.75

Fire modelled as rectangular obstruction releasing hot combustion products from the top and extracting cold air from the sides Dimensions scale with fire Froude scaling
Colella, Multiscale Modelling of Tunnel Ventilation Flows and Fires, PhD thesis, Politecnico di Torino, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/1842/3528

Grid Independence Study

Colella, Multiscale Modelling of Tunnel Ventilation Flows and Fires, PhD thesis, Politecnico di Torino, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/1842/3528

CFD model
3D flow field from first principles Accurate results Industry uses to verify a pre-approved design BUT Slow simulations (~1.5 km takes 1 month to solve) Not affordable for long tunnels (solution time for 24 km?) Cannot study all ventilation strategies (only time for 1 or 2 cases)

CFD vs. 1D computing time
CFD accurate

Computational time

Is there anything in between?
Tunnel Length

1D rough

Multiscale
1D Regions: Low velocity/temperature gradients 1D models can be used 3D Regions: High velocity/temperature gradients CFD models must used

L’

1D model

L’’ 1D model CFD model

Multiscale – Jet fans
1D region
Tunnel Portal

3D region
1-dimensional network

1D region
CFD 3D jet fan module Tunnel Portal 1-dimensional network

Multiscale – Fire source

3D region 1D region 1D region

Multiscale Modelling
Dramatic reduction of the computational time by 2 orders of magnitude Full coupled ventilation/fire simulation of the whole domain takes a few hours Hundreds of simulations can be done in a week Fast/accurate tool allows to explore multiple scenarios and design question not possible before:
What is the best design for a wide range of conditions? How many jet fans must be installed? What is different fire sizes are considered? What is the redundancy of the system? What is the impact of the wind conditions? Would a fire change the tunnel airflow resistance? How fast would the system response to activation? How much faster than fire growth?

1D/3D interface location?

Jet fan pairs

L=?

L’

1D model L’’ 1D model CFD model Near field

Correct 1D/3D interface location
Jet-fan discharge
120 110 100 90 100 90

Fire source

Mass flow rate [kg/s]

mass flow rate error

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 Error [%]

80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 100 L3D[m] 200

L’

L’’

0 300

L≈17 times the diameter

L≈12 times the diameter

Colella et al., A Novel Multiscale Methodology for Simulating Tunnel Ventilation Flows during Fires, Fire Technology 47, pp. 221-253, 2011. doi:10.1007/s10694-010-0144-2

Dartford Tunnels, London
Under Thames river 1.5 km long Hybrid ventilation system Jet fans + supply & extraction shafts West Tunnel, built in 1963:
28 jet fans Diam 9.5 m
133m 1280m 157m

Cold Flow Validation

Cold Flow Validation

Colella et al., Calculation and design of tunnel ventilation systems using a two-scale modelling approach, Building and Environment 44, 2009

System wide predictions
Cold flow Multiple (x8) ventilation strategies studied Redundancy levels can be studied (how many jet fans can be disable while system provides safe conditions?)

Multiscale vs. CFD
Scenario: 30 MW fire and 3 Jet fan pairs activated

full CFD

Multiscale

Colella et al., A Novel Multiscale Methodology for Simulating Tunnel Ventilation Flows during Fires, Fire Technology 47, pp. 221-253, 2011. doi:10.1007/s10694-010-0144-2

Throttling Effect
Additional flow resistance imposed by the fire size (buoyancy, gas expansion and hot smoke aerodynamics) Reported experimentally in 1979 but hardly ever use eg, 100 MW fire decrease airflow by 30%
Jet fans needed to reach critical velocity

Requires coupling of fire and ventilation Can be significant for large fires and long tunnels

5 4 3 2 1 0 0

# jet fan pairs

6

Fire size [MW] 20 40 60 80 100 120

Colella et al., A Novel Multiscale Methodology for Simulating Tunnel Ventilation Flows during Fires, Fire Technology 47, pp. 221-253, 2011. doi:10.1007/s10694-010-0144-2

Detection/Activation: Transient Problem
Only after fire detection, ventilation is activated Acceleration of the mass of air in tunnel while fire is growing Race between fire growth and ventilation response Ventilation #1? Ventilation #2?

HRR Detection range

30 MW

Ventilation #3?

15 MW/min

2 min

4 min

time

Ventilation Response in time

Colella et al., Time-dependent Multiscale Simulations of Fire Emergencies in Longitudinally Ventilated Tunnels, Proceedings 10th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science, 2011

Transient Results
1 min 59 s after ignition / 1 s from activation
elevation [m]
temperature: 300 320 340 360 380 400

6 4 2 0 50 100

330

320

310

150

200

250

Longitudinal 70 m back –layering

coordinate [m]

elevation [m]

x-velocity:

-1 -0.8-0.6-0.4-0.2 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
-0.4

6 4 2

-0. 6

0.4

0.6

1

0

0

50

100

150

200

0

250

Longitudinal coordinate [m]

Transient Results
3 min after ignition / 1 min after activation
Scenario 1: 3 Jet fan pairs
5 0 400

100 m back –layering
500 600 700

Scenario 2: 5scenario 2pairs Ventilation Jet fan
5

70 m back –layering
0 400 500 600 700

Scenario 3: 10 Jet fan pairs
5 0 400

0 m back –layering
500 0 m back –layering ≈ 600 700

Longitudinal coordinate [m]

Transient Results
5 min after ignition / 2 min after activation
Scenario 1:scenario 1 pairs 3 Jet fan Ventilation
5 0 400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

1100

1200

Scenario 2: 5 Jet fan pairs
5 0 400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

1100

1200

Scenario 3: 10 Jet fan pairs
5 0 400

500

600

700

800

900

1000

1100

1200

Detection vs. Ventilation Requirements
Evaluation of the design options in terms of detection technology For a given required time to remove back-layering, options range from low tech detection + many jet fans , to high tech detection + few jet fans
400
elapsed time from fire outbreak [s]

350 300 250 200 150 100 50 0 2 3 4 5

Scenarios 1, 2, 3; TD=2min Detection time 2.5 min Scenarios 4, 5, 6; TD=2.5min Detection time 2.0 min Scenarios 7, 8, 9; TD=1.5min

Detection time 1.5 min

6 7 8 9 10 # active jet fan pairs

11

12

13

14

Colella et al., Time-dependent Multiscale Simulations of Fire Emergencies in Longitudinally Ventilated Tunnels, Proceedings 10th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science, 2011

Conclusions: efficient, accurate & fast
Multiscale is as accurate as full CFD Dramatic reduction of the computational time (by 2 orders of magnitude) Hundreds of simulations can be done in a week Fast/accurate tool allows to explore multiple scenarios and design question not possible before Full coupling fire and ventilation Throttling effect is significant Allows for transient problems and full ventilations strategies

Thanks!
for more information
Colella et al., A Novel Multiscale Methodology for Simulating Tunnel Ventilation Flows during Fires, Fire Technology 47, pp. 221-253, 2011. doi:10.1007/s10694-010-0144-2 Colella et al., Time-dependent Multiscale Simulations of Fire Emergencies in Longitudinally Ventilated Tunnels, Proceedings 10th International Symposium on Fire Safety Science (in press), June 2011, Maryland. Colella et al., Analysis of the ventilation systems in the Dartford tunnels using a multi-scale modelling approach, Tunneling and Underground Space Technology 25, 2010 doi:10.1016/j.tust.2010.02.007 Colella et al., Calculation and design of tunnel ventilation systems using a two-scale modelling approach, Building and Environment 44, 2009 doi:10.1016/j.buildenv.2009.03.020 Colella et al., One dimensional and multi-scale modelling of tunnel fires and ventilation flows, Chapter in: The Handbook of Tunnel Fire Safety, ICE Publishing (in press), 2011. Colella, Multiscale Modelling of Tunnel Ventilation Flows and Fires, PhD thesis, Politecnico di Torino, 2010. http://hdl.handle.net/1842/3528

Cold flow – Norfolk Tunnel AU
Two one-directional tunnels in Sydney (AU) 460 m long 6 jet fan pairs (34 m/s discharge velocity) 80 m spaced

Prediction vs. Measurements

Multiscale – coupling procedure
Multiscale iterations - K
0.000

3.50
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19

[kg/s]
-0.010 -0.020 -0.030 -0.040

[Pa]
3.00 2.50

Total pressure at inlet
2.00 1.50

-0.050 -0.060 -0.070 -0.080

Mass flow rate at inlet

1.00 0.50 0.00

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