Articles | Volume 5, issue 1
J. Sens. Sens. Syst., 5, 33–38, 2016

Special issue: Sensor/IRS2 2015

J. Sens. Sens. Syst., 5, 33–38, 2016

Regular research article 05 Feb 2016

Regular research article | 05 Feb 2016

Tracer gas experiments in subways using an integrated measuring and analysis system for sulfur hexafluoride

M. Brüne1, J. Spiegel1, K. Potje-Kamloth2, C. Stein3, and A. Pflitsch1 M. Brüne et al.
  • 1Department of Geography, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universitätsstraße 150, 44801 Bochum, Germany
  • 2Fraunhofer ICT-IMM, Carl-Zeiss-Straße 18–20, 55129 Mainz, Germany
  • 3smartGAS Mikrosensorik GmbH, Kreuzenstraße 98, 74076 Heilbronn, Germany

Abstract. Several sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer gas experiments were conducted in a subway system to measure the possible pathways of toxic gas for subway tunnels and stations empirically. A new mobile integrated measuring and analysis system was used to achieve high sample rates and a long measurement time. Due to the mobility of the sensors, tracer gas experiments were also carried out inside running subway coaches. All experiments showed a common pattern: the pathways of tracer gas dispersion overlapped with some escape routes, which were contaminated within a few minutes. So in case of catastrophic circumstances like terrorist attacks or subway fires, some escape routes will become deathly traps, but the results also showed free escape routes. With the new sensor technique it will be possible to conduct safety assessments for escape routes in underground transportation facilities.

Short summary
Tracer gas experiments demonstrate possible pathways of toxic gas propagation, especially in subsurface infrastructures like subway stations. Precise gas sensors are needed to record the concentration levels over time; thereby, a better understanding of how smoke or toxic gas affected evacuation routes can be achieved. The acquired knowledge can be used to optimize evacuation and reaction plans and might reduce the casualties in catastrophic circumstances.
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