Safe from Fire and Smoke

Serious accidents involving fatalities and high economic impact have regularly resulted in protracted discussion of tunnel safety in the event of fire in recent years. The enhanced standards resulting from this technical debates are first and foremost geared to protecting the structural concrete from the consequences of a rapid increase in temperature and an enormous heat development, to the safe design of escapeways and furthermore to retaining functioning electrical equipment.

Three significant factors diminish the bearing capacity of the structure and hamper stability in the event of a tunnel fire:

Explosion-like spalling caused by immense heat development and the resultant chemical and physical processes triggered in the concrete. Modern high-strength concretes, whose pore content and permeability are reduced, react especially sensitively here.

Changes in the structure of the aggregate filler containing quartz caused by heat (the so-called quartz leap) result in changes in volume and thereby in concrete attrition.

Tiny cracks caused by the fire impact increasingly...

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