, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 81-94
Date: 20 Oct 2012

Analytical quantification of airflows from soil through building substructures

Abstract

Soil gas pollutants (VOCs, radon, …) have long been known to intrude into buildings through various openings, e.g., cracks and gaps in the foundations. As yet no model has been developed which can quantify this rate of flow whilst taking into account various substructure configurations. This is due to the complex phenomena that need to be consider and particularly to the difficulty in estimating pollutant flows at soil-building interfaces. In this paper analytical models have been developed to quantify these flows. The models have been developed for some typical substructure configurations: slab-on-grade, basement and crawlspace. The inputs of these models include particularly the foundation wall depth and the slab permeability. The analytical models have been compared to existing analytical models for one of the configurations. Moreover a 2-D finite element model has been used for numerical comparison. The models are presented as pressure-flow relationships and can be integrated into risk assessment tools in order to study the impact of soil gas pollutants on indoor air quality.