Thermo-hydro-chemical couplings considered in safety assessment of shallow tunnels subjected to fire load

Matthias Zeiml, Roman Lackner, Francesco Pesavento, Bernhard A. Schrefler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Fire loading of concrete tunnel linings is characterized by various physical, chemical, and mechanical processes, resulting in spalling of near-surface concrete layers and degradation of strength and stiffness of the remaining tunnel lining. In this paper, the governing transport processes taking place in concrete at elevated temperatures are considered within a recently published fire-safety assessment tool [Savov K, Lackner R, Mang HA. Stability assessment of shallow tunnels subjected to fire load. Fire Safety J 2005; 40: 745-763] for underground structures. In contrast to consideration of heat transport only [Savov et al.], a coupled thermo-hydro-chemical analysis, simulating the heat and mass transport in concrete under fire loading, is performed, giving access to more realistic temperature distributions as well as gas-pressure distributions within the tunnel lining. These data serve as input for the structural safety assessment tool considering, in addition to the temperature dependence of mechanical properties, the effect of the gas pressure on the strength properties of the heated lining concrete. The combination of the two analysis tools (coupled analysis of governing transport processes and structural safety assessment) is illustrated by the fire-safety assessment of a cross-section of the Lainzer tunnel (Austria) characterized by low overburden (shallow tunnel).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-95
Number of pages13
JournalFire Safety Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Collapse
  • Concrete
  • Fire
  • Layer concept
  • Level of loading
  • Permeability
  • Polypropylene fibers
  • Spalling
  • Tunnel lining

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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