For many years now, the engineering world has sought innovative yet effective solutions to the problems of ensuring safety in road tunnels, and in particular protection against the constant threat of fire. Now, thanks to the use of FireMaster® FireBarrier™ 135 from Morgan Advanced Materials, the users of one key road tunnel in central Italy are thoroughly protected.
The Serralunga tunnel runs for 1300m near the mountain town of Rocca di Cambio, in Italy, connecting the popular ski resorts of Campo Felice with the Plateau Rocche via the motorway system. Built at an altitude of 1600m, the Serralunga tunnel has a gradient of 4.5% and was opened to traffic in December 2013.
Fire in road tunnels can have catastrophic consequences; not only does it threaten human life, but it can cause huge damage to the tunnel’s structure, in some cases resulting in collapse. Furthermore, fires in tunnels burn at extremely high temperatures; a typical tunnel car fire reaches 400°C, but a large petrol tanker fire may reach 1400°C. Therefore, all tunnels must offer protection sufficient to deal with these events.
The Serralunga Tunnel has two escape routes, which take the form of suspended paths. The challenge that faced the design team working on this project was lining those escape paths with a material that could withstand extremely high temperatures, protecting both the tunnel’s structure and the people within from the ravages of fire and the effects of smoke. Having considered all options, they chose to use FireMaster FireBarrier 135 from Morgan Advanced Materials, supplied through specialist installer Kapyfract AG.
FireMaster FireBarrier 135 is one of the most extensively fire-tested products available for this purpose, and can be applied either in the form of pre-cast sheets, or by spraying to a substrate attached to the tunnel. In the Serralunga tunnel, the product has been applied over a galvanised wire mesh, allowing it to reach every part of the tunnel surface. FireBarrier 135 has very high adhesion capacity, so very little of the material is lost during application. FireBarrier 135 goes on in a single application – a mere 36mm thickness was ideal for the Serralunga work – and dries quickly, a particular advantage in the Serralunga project, since all parties wanted to see the tunnel open promptly.
Ermanno Magni, Technical Product Application Manager, Europe, for Morgan , is pleased with the results of the Serralunga Tunnel project. "This is only the second tunnel in Italy to use this cutting-edge technical solution, and Morgan is delighted to be leading the way in this field. The installation of FireBarrier 135 in this project was swift and straightforward and it has given a smooth and uniform finish to the tunnel escape routes. Most importantly, we know from extensive testing that the use of this product helps to ensure the safety of people using the Serralunga Tunnel, even in extreme fire conditions."
Francesco Ferrari, specialist fire protection consultant, has also been impressed by the Serralunga project. "The treatment of the suspended escape galleries in this tunnel with FireBarrier 135 provides an extremely significant layer of protection for users of this tunnel. Its use is backed by a wealth of evidence, and installation of approximately 6,500 square feet (600m²) of protection has been achieved in under 40 days," he commented.
FireBarrier 135 is produced by Morgan’s Thermal Ceramics business. For further information, please visit http://www.firemaster.morganthermalceramics.com/cementitious