Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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TsAGI CENTENARY IN THE HISTORY: Moscow metro ventilation system

7 May 2018

The Moscow metro is a recognized achievement of construction and architecture. Today the underground tube railroad includes Moscow’s Central ring and Moscow monorail road system, and consists of 252 stations, 14 lines with a total length of 424.7 kilometers. The Plenum of the Central Committee of All-Union Communist Part made a decision to construct the Metro in Moscow in June 15, 1931. The first stage was opened in May 15, 1935. However, not everyone knows that TsAGI contributed to this important transport infrastructure of the capital.

The Institute’s scientists, N. E. Zhukovsky’s disciples, Professor K.A.Ushakov and engineer B.O.Kersten, were involved in the basic principles of the underground ventilation study. The Institute conducted calculations and experimental studies, including wind tunnel tests.

The results helped to create a major tunnel ventilation system for the first time in world practice. It was a so-called “mechanical draft and bidirectional operation system,” which was connected between stations and main line tunnels. Its key point was the following: in warm months, the outside air was delivered to the stations, allowing the main line tunnels to absorb the heat, foul gas and dust and then was brought to the surface. The remaining portion of the heat entered the subsoil and surrounding tunnels, thus warming them up. The system reversed itself during cold months: it changed the direction. The outside air was delivered to the mail line tunnels, cooled the subsoil to natural temperatures, absorbed heat, ventilated tunnels and stations. The already warmed air was delivered to the station, and then to the surface.

The ventilator development became the important issue. By that time, TsAGI had had the scientific groundwork in methods of aerodynamic design and experimental research of various ventilation devices. The Institute scientists designed the first axial-flow ventilating fans in 1926-1929 to meet the production sector challenges. For many years these devices were manufactured for the mining, metal and construction industries.

Transportation infrastructure was no an exception: TsAGI scientists developed axial-flow ventilating fans for the first stage of the Moscow metro. In the process of new metro line development and introduction, these devices were improved and their efficiency was increased. TsAGI’s research in industrial aerodynamics was reflected in the practical tasks for urban transport in the capital.

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