Determination of mechanisms and parameters which affect radon entry into a room.
Measurements of steady-state soil-gas and 222Rn entry rates into two room-sized experimental basement structures were made for a range of structure depressurizations (0-40 Pa) and open floor areas (0-165 x 10(-4) m2). The 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 subslab gravel layer greatly enhances the soil-gas and radon entry rate into the structure. The radon entry rate into the structure with the subslab gravel layer is four times greater than the entry rate into the structure without the gravel layer with an open floor area of 165 x 10(-4) m2; however the ratio increases to 30 for an open floor area of 5.0 x 10(-4) m2. The relationship between open area and soil-gas entry rate is complex. It depends on both the amount and distribution of the open area as well as the permeability of the soil near the opening. The entry rate into the experimental structures is largely determined by the presence or absence of a subslab gravel layer. Therefore open area is a poor indicator of radon and soil-gas entry into the structures. The extension of the soil-gas pressure field created by structure depressurization is a good measure of the radon entry. The measured normalized radon entry rate into both structures has the same linear relationship with the average subslab pressure coupling is an estimate of the extension of the soil-gas pressure field. A three-dimensional finite-difference model correctly predicts the effect of a subslab gravel layer and different open area configurations on radon and soil-gas entry rate; however, the model underpredicts the absolute entry rate into each structure by a factor of 1.5.