Basic Theory of Rapid-Transit Tunnel Ventilation

[+] Author and Article Information
W. G. Brown

Building Services Section, Division of Building Research, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

J. Eng. Ind 88(1), 1-7 (Feb 01, 1966) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3670885 History: Received December 21, 1964; Online December 08, 2011


An analysis has been carried out for the basic mechanism of rapid-transit tunnel ventilation due to train piston action and for the temperatures resulting in the system. Theory is in general agreement with experimental results, indicating air velocities in tunnels of the order of 1/5 of the train velocity even though trains occupy only 1/4 to 1/3 of the cross-sectional area of the tunnel. Little of the heat load owing to trains, brakes, passengers, and machinery is conducted through the ground about the tunnel, but the ground serves as a heat reservoir, causing the amplitude of the diurnal subway temperature variation to be about half that of the ambient air temperature and causing a phase shift of several hours. With the help of a partly empirical theory combined with experiment, it was possible to indicate approximately the temperatures to be expected in a tunnel under differing climate conditions. The effect of train scheduling on ventilation rate is discussed, as is the possibility of using models to obtain more precise design data.

Copyright © 1966 by ASME
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