Fire Technology

, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 5–26 | Cite as

The Influence of Tunnel Geometry and Ventilation on the Heat Release Rate of a Fire

  • R.O. Carvel
  • A.N. Beard
  • P.W. Jowitt
  • D.D. Drysdale


It has occasionally been observed that fires in tunnels appear to be significantly more severe than fires in the open air. A literature review has been carried out, comparing heat release data from fires in tunnels with heat release data from similar fires in the open air. A Bayesian methodology has been used to investigate the geometrical factors that have the greatest influence on heat release rate. It is shown that the heat release rate of a fire in a tunnel is influenced primarily by the width of a tunnel; a fire will tend to have a higher heat release rate in a narrow tunnel rather than in a wide tunnel. The observed relationship between heat release rate and tunnel width is presented. Results from a study investigating the variation of heat release rate with ventilation velocity for fires in tunnels are also presented. A method for making realistic estimates of the heat release rates of fires in tunnels, based on these results, is presented.

tunnel fires heat release rate tunnel geometry longitudinal ventilation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • R.O. Carvel
    • 1
  • A.N. Beard
    • 1
  • P.W. Jowitt
    • 1
  • D.D. Drysdale
    • 2
  1. 1.School of the Built EnvironmentHeriot-Watt UniversityEdinburghScotland
  2. 2.Institute for Infrastructure and the EnvironmentUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghScotland

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