Stack effects on smoke propagation in subway stations

Chen, F.; Chien, S.-W.; Jang, H.-M.; Chang, W.-J.
October 2003
Continuum Mechanics & Thermodynamics;Oct2003, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p425
Academic Journal
In fires of subway stations, the most immediate threat to passengers' life is not the direct exposure to fire, but the smoke inhalation because it contains hot air and toxic gases. To understand the mechanisms driving the motion of smoke is therefore an important issue of fire safety, and the stack effect is found to be an important mechanism having significant influence. In this paper, we compute the three-dimensional smoke flow fields under various fires happened in a representative subway station of Taipei Rapid Transit System. To clarify the mechanisms corresponding to the stack effect, a simplified three-dimensional configuration is also considered. Results indicate that, without mechanical smoke control, the stack effect plays a decisive role and is virtually the sole factor influencing the smoke movement. Because of the stack effect, most or sometimes all of the smoke will choose a vertical shaft (usually a stairwell) to evacuate, and the cross sectional area of the shaft and the location of fire determine which shaft is chosen. Present computational results show the evidences of the importance of the stack effect and provide both valuable information to the design of the passenger evacuation routes in fires as well as criteria to the design of smoke control systems of subway stations.


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