Laboratory simulation of subsurface airflow beneath a building
Author(s)Corsello, Joseph William
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
David E. Langseth.
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Vapor intrusion is the vapor-phase migration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into buildings due to subsurface soil or groundwater contamination. Oxygen replenishment rates beneath a building are significant for quantifying potential contaminant degradation rates within the vadose zone. Additionally, the migration of VOC soil gas vapors into buildings is partly due to pressure differences between the building and the subsurface. This study addresses these issues through two laboratory scale experiments. The Wind Experiment quantifies oxygen replenishment rates as a function of above ground wind speed, while the Depressurization Experiment examines the flow rate of air into a model building as a function of decreased building pressure. For the Wind Experiment, tests were run for basement and slab-on-grade building configurations, as well as with and without a simulated sidewalk. Results show that increased above ground wind speed increases the oxygen replenishment rate and that the presence of a simulated sidewalk inhibits the oxygen replenishment rate. For the Depressurization Experiment, tests were again run for basement and slab-on-grade building configurations, as well as for two different foundation crack percentages. Results of the experiment indicate that increased building vacuum increases the flow rate of air into the building. In addition, basement configuration, increased foundation crack percentage, or some combination of the two results in increased airflow into the building. Additional research is needed for both experiments in order to obtain statistically significant results and resolve remaining uncertainties. Specific research needs include an improved wind source, additional monitoring locations, various sidewalk sizes and shapes, and different foundation crack configurations.
Thesis: M. Eng., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 82-84).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Civil and Environmental Engineering.