Experimental Investigation on Temperature Profiles at Ceiling and Door of Subway Carriage Fire


Previous studies usually used the common tunnel model and paid little attention to the propagation characteristics of fire in the carriage structure with multiple lateral openings. In the current study, experiments were carried out in a reduced-scale (1:5) subway carriage model to study the propagation characteristics of carriage fire. The main focuses were on the temperature contour profiles and distribution laws under the ceiling and at different doors inside the carriage. Results show that although the status of the side door of the carriage does not have a significant effect on the mass loss rate of fuel combustion, the temperature distribution under the ceiling will be affected under the effect of the smoke overflow of the door opening. The effect of door status on the longitudinal ceiling temperature is mainly on the area between the fire source and the adjacent door. For the transverse ceiling temperature above the fire source, the effect of the status of the door is significant with the increase of the fire source. Besides, the temperature contour profile at the door shows regular distribution. In the process of gradually increasing the temperature as the height increases, the isotherm gradually changes from a horizontal straight line to two inverted triangular sides, the temperature at the door has been basically in the ambient temperature from the dimensionless height (normalized by the height of the door) below 0.6. The measured radiation at the upper part of the carriage end is about 5 times higher than that in the middle of the door adjacent to the fire source, and the ratio is not significantly affected by the heat release rate. The results of this study can be of use to the fire-protection community to better understand fire dynamics.

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\(H\) :

Subway carriage height (m)

\(H_{d}\) :

Door height (m)

\(L\) :

Model size (m)

\(\dot{m}^{^{\prime\prime}}\) :

Mass loss rate per unit area (g m2 s1)

\(Q\) :

Heat release rate (kW)

\(t\) :


\(T\) :

Temperature (K)

\(\Delta T\) :

Temperature rise (K)

\(\Delta T_{l - difference}\) :

The longitudinal temperature differences between different door statuses

\(\Delta T_{t - difference}\) :

The transverse temperature differences between different door statuses

\(\Delta T_{lm}\) :

Maximum temperature rise at the longitudinal centerline (K)

\(\Delta T_{tm,X}\) :

Maximum transverse temperature rise at a distance of X from the fire source (K)

\(\Delta T_{max,d}\) :

Maximum temperature rise at the door (K)

\(W\) :

Subway carriage width (m)

\(X\) :

Longitudinal distance from the fire source (m)

\(Y\) :

Transverse distance from the fire source (m)

\(Z\) :

Height from the bottom of the door (m)

F :

Full scale

M :

Model scale


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This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.51776192), Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (No. CX2320007001), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. WK2320000048), and the Research Grant Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (contract Grant Number CityU 11301015). We sincerely appreciate these supports.

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Correspondence to Xudong Cheng.

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Peng, M., Cheng, X., Cong, W. et al. Experimental Investigation on Temperature Profiles at Ceiling and Door of Subway Carriage Fire. Fire Technol 57, 439–459 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10694-020-01010-z

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  • Temperature decay profile
  • Isotherm contour
  • Door status
  • Radiant heat flux
  • Carriage fire
  • Subway tunnel