Environmental Fluid Mechanics

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 769–786 | Cite as

Wind-induced pressure at a tunnel portal

  • T. Kubwimana
  • P. SalizzoniEmail author
  • E. Bergamini
  • A. Mos
  • P. Méjean
  • L. Soulhac
Original Article


In order to properly size the mechanical ventilation system of a tunnel, it is essential to estimate the wind-driven pressure difference that might rise between its two portals. In this respect, we explore here the pressure distribution over a tunnel portal under the influence of an incident atmospheric boundary layer and, in particular, its dependency on wind direction and on tunnel geometry. Reduced scale models of generic configurations of a tunnel portal are studied in an atmospheric wind tunnel. Pressure distributions over the front section of different open cavities are measured with surface taps, which allows us to infer the influence of the tunnel aspect ratio and wind direction on a pressure coefficient \(C_{P}\), defined as a spatially and time averaged non-dimensional pressure. Experiments reveal that the magnitude of the coefficient \(C_{P}\), as a function of the wind direction, is significantly influenced by the portal height-to-width ratio and almost insensitive to its length. The experimental data set is completed by hot-wire anemometry measurements providing vertical distribution of velocity statistics. The same configurations are simulated by numerically solving the Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes equations, adopting the standard \(k - \varepsilon\) turbulence model. Despite some discrepancies between numerical and experimental estimates of some flow parameters (namely the turbulent kinetic energy field), the numerical estimates of the pressure coefficients \(C_{P}\) show very good agreement with experimental data. The latter is also compared to the predictions of an analytical model, based on the estimate of a spatially averaged velocity within an infinitely long street canyon. The results of the model, which takes into account varying canyon aspect ratios, are in reasonable agreement with experimental data for all cases studied. Notably, its predictions are significantly better than those provided by the simple analytical relations usually adopted as a reference in tunnel ventilation studies.


Cavity Natural ventilation Wind pressure coefficient Wind tunnel Numerical modelling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Études des TunnelsBronFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Mécanique des Fluides et d’Acoustique, UMR CNRS 5509, University of Lyon – École Centrale de Lyon, INSA LyonUniversité Claude Bernard Lyon IÉcully CedexFrance
  3. 3.Welter RacingThorigny-sur-MarneFrance

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