Modeling air flow dynamics in radon mitigation systems: A simplified approach

T. A. Reddy, K. J. Gadsby, H. E. Black, D. T. Harrje, R. G. Sextro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Subslab air flow dynamics provide important diagnostic information for designing optimal radon mitigation systems based on the subslab depressurization technique. In this paper, it is suggested that subslab air flow induced by a central suction point be treated as radial air flow through a porous bed contained between two impermeable disks. Next, we show that subslab air flow is most likely to be turbulent under actual field situations in houses with subslab gravel beds, while remaining laminar when soil is present under the slab. The physical significance of this model is discussed and simplified closed- form equations are derived to predict pressure and flows at various distances from a single central depressurization point. A laboratory apparatus was built in order to verify our model and experimentally determine the model coefficients of the pressure drop versus flow for commonly encountered subslab gravel materials. These pressure drop coefficients can be used in conjunction with our simplified model as a rational means of assessing subslab connectivity in actual houses, which is an important aspect of the pre-mitigation diagnostic phase. Preliminary field verification results in a house with gravel under the basement slab are presented and discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1476-1482
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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