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Validation of Container Analysis Fire Environment (CAFE) Code for Memorial Tunnel Fire Ventilation Test Program

[+] Author Affiliations
N. R. Chalasani, Miles Greiner

University of Nevada, Reno, Reno, NV

Ahti Suo-Anttila

Computational Engineering Analysis, Albuquerque, NM

Paper No. PVP2010-26075, pp. 561-571; 11 pages
  • ASME 2010 Pressure Vessels and Piping Division/K-PVP Conference
  • ASME 2010 Pressure Vessels and Piping Conference: Volume 7
  • Bellevue, Washington, USA, July 18–22, 2010
  • Conference Sponsors: Pressure Vessels and Piping Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4926-2 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3878-5
  • Copyright © 2010 by ASME


The Container Analysis Fire Environment (CAFE) computer code was developed at Sandia National Laboratories to predict the response of spent nuclear fuel (SNF) transport packages in large fires. CAFE’s fire model has been benchmarked using measurements from large, unconfined outdoor fires. In the current work CAFE simulations are benchmarked using data acquired in two fires from the Memorial Tunnel test series. The Memorial Tunnel, a decommissioned highway tunnel in West Virginia, is 850 m (2,800 ft) long, 4.38 m (14.3 ft) wide, and has a 3.2% slope. In both fires, the time-dependent air temperature and speed were measured at several locations throughout the tunnel during 50 MW fires. The first test used forced ventilation and the upper portal of the tunnel was sealed. Shortly after the fire started, air was forced into the tunnel at a location between the sealed portal and the fire, forcing the air flow toward the lower portal. The second test used natural ventilation, in that both portals were open and there was no forced flow. However, wind outside the tunnel appeared to cause a net flow inside, even before the fire started. While the Memorial Tunnel Fire test conditions and results were well documents, some details were not available to the current authors. This necessitated the used of some assumptions. CAFE simulations accurately reproduced many of the characteristics of the temporal and spatial variation of the measured air speed and temperature. The maximum simulated temperatures for the forced and naturally ventilated tests were, respectively, 26°F (14°C) and 201°F (94°C) below the corresponding measured values. This work will be used to assess the accuracy of CAFE in predicting the likely response of SNF packages in historic transportation tunnel fires.

Copyright © 2010 by ASME



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