Lining and Ventilation of Tunnels-Tunnel Engineering

We know that tunnels are underground passages used for underground transportation facilities.For the Lining and Ventilation of Tunnels is an important process in the construction of tunnel ventilation system.

Nowadays transportation in huge hilly regions is avoiding by construction a tunnel through hills.Therefore the importance of tunnels is widely increasing in the modern era.

The two important process in tunnel ventilation requirements are lining and tunnel ventilation is briefly described below.

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What are the classification of tunnels?

Tunnel ventilation requirements

1.Tunnel Lining

  • The tunnel lining definition means the finishing touch given to the cross-section of a Tunnel.
Lining and Ventilation of Tunnels
Lining in tunnels

a.Necessity of tunnel lining

  • When it is desired to permanently protect the material surrounding the tunnel.
  • When the cohesion between masses of particles surrounding the tunnel is not sufficient.
  • When the tunnel is subjected to internal or external pressure or heavy ground pressure.
  • To increase the strength of tunnel cross-section.

b.Tunnel Lining Types

Lining and Ventilation of Tunnels
Lining and Ventilation of Tunnels

1.Permanent lining

    Provided in soft ground prone to disintegration

2.Temporary lining

–For supporting roof & walls of the tunnel while construction.

An ideal lining should be

  • Easy to maintain
  • Economical
  • Durable
  • Simple to construct
  • Stable

c.What are the Materials used for tunnel lining?

  • The types of materials used for shield tunnelling is chosen depending upon the strength, purpose to be served and resistance to weather conditions
  • Materials used are:

                   1.Brick and stone masonry

                   2.Cement mortar


                   4.Cast iron


2.Tunnel ventilation

Tunnel ventilation system is the technique of providing freshness of air inside the tunnel during and after construction

a.Main objects of tunnel ventilation system

  • To supply fresh air to the working crew
  • To remove injurious and obnoxious fumes and gases of explosion
  • To safely remove the dust caused by drilling, blasting and mucking
  • To reduce the temperature in tunnel situated at a great depth
Lining and Ventilation of Tunnels
Ventilation in tunnels

Types of tunnel ventilation

Temporary ventilation

  • When ventilation is to be provided at the time of construction only


Permanent ventilation

  • When ventilation is to be provided after construction work is over, such ventilation system must be permanent

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Methods of Tunnel ventilation

1.Natural ventilation

  • When the tunnel is a short one and of large diameter
  • achieved due to the difference in temperature inside and outside the tunnel
  • effective only when the orientation of tunnel is along the wind direction.

Length of tunnel up to which natural ventilation would suffice depends on

  • If the tunnel alignment contains curves or the grades are changing, the quantity of natural air expected to provide natural ventilation is considerably reduced
  • The flow of traffic i.e. in one direction or in both directions will also affect the tunnel length for natural ventilation. Normally for one directional traffic in the tunnel, comparatively longer length of a tunnel may not require mechanical ventilation
  • In general, for straight reaches with uniform grade, the tunnels up to about 100 m length would not require any mechanical ventilation

Volume of air considerations

  • 6 m3 to 14 m3 of fresh air per minute constantly in the working area
  • Any compressed air used for drills is contaminated with oil and dust and when released will be contaminated
  • After each explosion, air near the face is filled with fumes and dust and is unfit for breathing
  • This foul air has to be replaced with fresh air before the workmen start removing the debris from the explosion

Conditions determining the form and capacity of the ventilating system

  • Length and size of the tunnel
  • Amount of explosive and frequency of blasting
  • Temperature inside the tunnel
  • Gases encountered during driving operations


2.Mechanical ventilation

  • Provided by one or more electric fans or blowers, which may blow fresh air into a tunnel or exhaust the dust and foul air from the tunnel

The various system of ventilation are:
            1.Blowing process

            2.Exhausting or vacuum process

            3.Combination of blowing and exhausting


  • Supplying fresh air right near the working face


  • Foul air, smoke & dust slowly moves out, fogging the atmosphere inside the tunnel, especially in the long tunnel

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Exhausting Process in Tunnels

The foul air & dust are drawn into an exhausting duct near the working face, thereby creating a flow of fresh air naturally into the tunnel from the entrance or portal

Advantage of exhausting in tunnels

  • Quick removal of dust & smoke from the working face

Disadvantage of exhausting in tunnels

  • Fresh air has to travel a long distance before it reaches the working face & its quite likely that it may absorb moisture, heat etc



  • Have the advantage of both the process.
  • Immediately after blasting operation, the exhausting system is operated for 15-30min, to immediately remove the objectionable air
  • After which, the blowing system operates for the rest of working period to supply fresh air.

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