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Road tunnels play a key role in the world transportation network, both in people and goods transport. The fire disaster of the Mont-Blanc Tunnel (39 fatalities, March 1999) pointed out the question of …
Road tunnels play a key role in the world transportation network, both in people and goods transport. The fire disaster of the Mont-Blanc Tunnel (39 fatalities, March 1999) pointed out the question of tunnel fire safety for road users. This aspect was highlighted by the tragic fires of the Tauern Tunnel and the St. Gothard Tunnel, occurred in the successive two years (12 fatalities, May 1999 and 11 fatalities, October 2001 respectively). The social and economic impact of these events has underlined the inadequacy of the tunnel design/management and of the national guidelines. The European Commission started a radical review of tunnel fire safety, operating in order to upgrade the existing tunnels and improve the European guidelines. Almost a decade later than the Directive 2004/54/EC, the tunnel fire safety is leading towards harmonized guidelines throughout Europe; technical installations and their performances are studied today using advanced calculation methods, such as the Computational Fluid Dynamics (“CFD”) models, that give a detailed description of the fire phenomenon. The diffusion of these advance methods is due to three main reasons: first of all, the comprehension of tunnel fire dynamics has been improved thanks to experimental tests, real fire events and analytical calculations; secondly, the diffusion of modern computers and advanced softwares has widened enormously the computational capacities of tunnel fire modelling; thirdly, the national guidelines have progressively adopted a performance-based fire design as a basis for the tunnel fire safety. This work is a representation of performance-based structural fire safety; the impact of a road tunnel fire is investigated using a Computational Fluid Dynamics (“CFD”) model, in order to give a realistic reproduction of a large tunnel fire (real fire curves).