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September 05, 2019

3D Model for the Simulation of Mechanized Tunnel Excavation

Kai Zhao • Michele Janutolo • Giovanni Barla




For long deep tunnels as currently under construction through the Alps, mechanized excavation using tunnel boring machines (TBMs) contributes significantly to savings in construction time and costs. Questions are, however, posed due to the severe ground conditions which are in cases anticipated or encountered along the main tunnel alignment. A major geological hazard is the squeezing of weak rocks, but also brittle failure can represent a significant problem. For the design of mechanized tunnelling in such conditions, the complex interaction between the rock mass, the tunnel machine, its system components, and the tunnel support need to be analysed in detail and this can be carried out by three-dimensional (3D) models including all these components. However, the stateof-the-art shows that very few fully 3D models for mechanical deep tunnel excavation in rock have been developed so far. A completely three-dimensional simulator of mechanised tunnel excavation is presented in this paper. The TBM of reference is a technologically advanced double shield TBM designed to cope with both conditions. Design analyses with reference to spalling hazard along the Brenner and squeezing along the Lyon–Turin Base Tunnel are discussed."


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