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Title: Radon entry into buildings: Effects of atmospheric pressure fluctuations and building structural factors

An improved understanding of the factors that control radon entry into buildings is needed in order to reduce the public health risks caused by exposure to indoor radon. This dissertation examines three issues associated with radon entry into buildings: (1) the influence of a subslab gravel layer and the size of the openings between the soil and the building interior on radon entry; (2) the effect of atmospheric pressure fluctuations on radon entry; and (3) the development and validation of mathematical models which simulate radon and soil-gas entry into houses. Experiments were conducted using two experimental basements to examine the influence of a subslab gravel layer on advective radon entry driven by steady indoor-outdoor pressure differences. These basement structures are identical except that in one the floor slab lies directly on native soil whereas in the other the slab lies on a high-permeability gravel layer. The measurements indicate that a high permeability subslab gravel layer increases the advective radon entry rate into the structure by as much as a factor of 30. The magnitude of the enhancement caused by the subslab gravel layer depends on the area of the openings in the structure floor; the smaller the area of thesemore » openings the larger the enhancement in the radon entry rate caused by the subslab gravel layer. A three-dimensional, finite-difference model correctly predicts the effect of a subslab gravel layer and open area configuration on advective radon entry driven by steady indoor-outdoor pressure differences; however, the model underpredicts the absolute entry rate into each structure by a factor of 1.5.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
266673
Report Number(s):
LBNL--38843
ON: DE96013155; TRN: 96:017066
DOE Contract Number:
AC03-76SF00098
Resource Type:
Thesis/Dissertation
Resource Relation:
Other Information: TH: Thesis (Ph.D.); PBD: May 1996
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Research (ER); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Building Technologies Office (EE-5B)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; BUILDINGS; INDOOR AIR CONTAMINATION; RADON; ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSPORT; MATHEMATICAL MODELS; SOILS; RADIONUCLIDE MIGRATION; THREE-DIMENSIONAL CALCULATIONS; FINITE DIFFERENCE METHOD