|Summary / Abstract
||In case of a major fire in a tunnel between stations or ventilation shafts, if the buoyancy effect of the hot gasses is stronger than the airflow induced by the fans, the risk of backlayering could restrict the safe evacuation of people. Obstructions in the tunnel and alternate airflow paths can further reduce the air velocities past the fire.
Currently there are two computer programs available to address the issue of underground fires:
o "Subway Environment Simulation" (SES), Version 3.0, developed by Associated Engineers, a Joint Venture of Parsons Brinckerhoff Quade & Douglas, Inc., De Leuw Cather & Co., and Kaiser Engineers, Inc. for the U.S. Department of Transportation
o "MFIRE", Version 1.26, developed at Michigan Technological University for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Mines.
As implied by its name, the SES program was developed specifically for the analysis of subway ventilation systems. It can be used to analyze the heat released into, and removed from, a subway or vehicular tunnel and to determine the effect of ventilation elements on airflows throughout the network of stations or other merging tunnels. It has a special feature allowing the user to predict the effects of a fire at any location within the subway system.
Version 3.0 of the SES program is designed to be used with a "critical velocity" calculation in order to determine whether or not tunnel airflows can be controlled during a train fire emergency. The original version of the program was written in FORTRAN for mainframe computers, such as the IBM 4381. Recently ICF Kaiser Engineers has compiled a version of the SES program for PC use.
The MFIRE program simulates the interdependence between a mine ventilation system, with its pertinent fans and structures, and changes in ambient conditions or a source of heat, such as a fire. It also accounts for natural ventilation. The program is written in FORTRAN 77 and compiled for 8086/8088 based microprocessors, allowing it to be run on an IBM PC or compatible computer with a 2.0 or a later version of DOS, 256K random access memory (RAM), and a text editor.
This paper reports the comparative results of an application of both programs for the same network in a recent study.