Contribution of concrete pavements to the safety of tunnels in case of fire

Presentation by EuPave on Concrete Pavements in Tunnels - Fire

A number of tunnel fires in Europe have demonstrated the need for appropriate choice
of materials for tunnel construction to ensure high safety and reliable availability to traffic. In case of fire, an incombustible and non-toxic road pavement, such as a concrete one,
contributes to the safety of people (users and rescue teams) and protects both the tunnel
equipment and its structure. In this document, the results of different fire tests in several
countries on the behaviour of asphalt and concrete used for pavements are analyzed. It has
been found that asphalt has a high calorific value, igniting rapidly after being heated and
emitting toxic gases. In addition, asphalt concrete loses its mechanical characteristics (after
ignition, only aggregates are still present but are no longer bound by asphalt). In comparison, concrete is incombustible, does not release fumes, does not change shape when submitted to high temperature and keeps a large part of its mechanical characteristics. Spalling
phenomena are restricted to concretes that are very uncommon in pavements. Therefore it
can be concluded that concrete pavements can largely contribute to the safety of tunnels in
case of fire in comparison with other paving alternatives.

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