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Natural ventilation of a small-scale road tunnel by wind catchers: a CFD simulation study

Liu, S., Luo, Z., Zhang, k. and Hang, J. (2018) Natural ventilation of a small-scale road tunnel by wind catchers: a CFD simulation study. Atmosphere, 9 (10). 411. ISSN 2073-4433

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To link to this item DOI: 10.3390/atmos9100411


Providing efficient ventilation in road tunnels is essential to prevent severe air pollution exposure for both drivers and pedestrians in such enclosed spaces with heavy vehicle emissions. Longitudinal ventilation methods like commercial jet fans have been widely applied and confirmed to be effective for introducing external fresh air into road tunnels that are shorter than 3km. However, operating tunnel jet fans is energy consuming. Therefore, for small-scale (~100m-1km) road tunnels, mechanical ventilation methods might be highly energy expensive and unaffordable. Many studies have found that the use of wind catchers could improve building natural ventilation, but their effect on improving natural ventilation in small-scale road tunnels has, hitherto, rarely been studied. This paper, therefore, aims to quantify the influence of style and arrangement of one-sided flat-roof wind catchers on ventilation performance in a road tunnel. The concept of intake fraction (IF) is applied for ventilation and pollutant exposure assessment in the overall tunnel and for pedestrian regions. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) methodology with a standard k-epsilon turbulence model is used to perform a three-dimensional (3D) turbulent flow simulation, and CFD results have been validated by wind-tunnel experiments for building cross ventilation. Results show that the introduction of wind catchers would significantly enhance wind speed at pedestrian level, but a negative velocity reduction effect and a near-catcher recirculation zone can also be found. A special downstream vortex extending along the downstream tunnel is found, helping remove the accumulated pollutants away from the low-level pedestrian sides. Both wind catcher style and arrangement would significantly influence the ventilation performance in the tunnel. Compared to long-catcher designs, short-catchers would be more effective for providing fresh air to pedestrian sides due to a weaker upstream velocity reduction effect and smaller near-catcher recirculation zone. In long-catcher cases, IF increases to 1.13ppm when the wind catcher is positioned 240m away from the tunnel entrance, which is almost twice that in short-catcher cases. For the effects of catcher arrangements, single, short-catcher, span-wise, shifting would not help dilute pollutants effectively. Generally, a design involving a double short-catcher in a parallel arrangement is the most recommended, with the smallest IF, i.e. 61% of that in the tunnel without wind catchers (0.36 ppm).

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Science > School of the Built Environment > Urban Living group
Science > School of the Built Environment > Energy and Environmental Engineering group
ID Code:79853


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