Experimental and numerical analysis of flow field and ventilation performance in a traffic tunnel ventilated by axial fans

Milan Šekularac, Novica Janković

To investigate air flow in longitudinally ventilated traffic tunnels, a scaled model of a typical road-traffic tunnel with an appropriate ventilation system based on axial ducted fans, is designed and built in the Lab. The focus of this paper is the airflow in a bi-directional traffic, two-lane tunnel. At the scale ratio of approx. 1:20, at \SI{20.52}{m} length it represents $\approx\SI{400}{m}$ of a real-scale tunnel. The model consists of two parallel tunnel tubes, where the main tunnel (with a hydraulic diameter of $D_{h1}\approx\SI{0.4}{m}$) has the geometry of a scaled road traffic-tunnel. The second tunnel ($D_{h2}\approx\SI{0.16}{m}$) has a smaller size and is circular in cross-section, used only to simulate airflow towards an evacuation tunnel tube. Thus the two tunnels are connected by the evacuation passages, equipped with adjustable escape doors. By a combination of experimental and numerical work, the air flow-field and the performance of the ventilation system are investigated. The velocity field and its turbulence properties exiting the fans were determined experimentally using hot-wire anemometry. These data were further processed to be used in the tunnel flow computations by CFD. The efficiency of momentum transfer ($\eta_i$, Kempf factor) of the longitudinal tunnel ventilation is determined. The effect that the imposed boundary conditions and the level of their detail, have within a CFD computation of tunnel airflow, with respect to accuracy, velocity distribution and computed $\eta_i$. Finally a traffic-loaded (traffic ``jam'') case of flow is studied through experiment and CFD. The difficulty in assessing the required thrust of the plant in traffic-jam tunnel conditions is discussed, and the ventilation efficiency is estimated. Based on later results, the two limiting shapes of axial velocity distribution with respect to height above the road, in this type of tunnel and traffic, are estimated. The last result can be used as a realistic boundary condition (as inlet b.c. and/or initial condition) for numerical studies of flow and fire scenarios in such tunnels with the traffic load critical for design.