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ISRM India Journal- Half Yearly Technical Journal of Indian National Group of ISRM
Year : 2012, Volume : 1, Issue : 1
First page : ( 17) Last page : ( 24)
Print ISSN : 2277-131X. Online ISSN : 2277-1328.

Tunnels in Weak Ground: Discrete Element Simulations

Kumari S. D. Anitha, Sitharam T.G.

Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India

Online published on 28 May, 2012.

Abstract

Tunnels are an absolute necessity in the modern world where the underground space utilization is significant for the development of a nation. The construction of tunnels in an already congested area is very risky and requires special skills. If tunnels are built near existing structures or on shallow soft ground, there is possibility of very large deformations of the ground. This may affect the safety of the existing structures as well as the tunnels. Also the stresses developed during the construction of the tunnels also play a significant role in the tunnel stability. This stresses the fact that proper supports and reinforcements are necessary to ensure the safety of the tunnel as well as the adjoining structures. Numerical modeling is found to be an effective tool in understanding the behaviour of the ground under various conditions. Since the ground surface is inherently discontinuous, discrete element method (DEM) is adopted in this study to understand the mechanical behaviour of the ground. In this method, each particle is modeled independently and this grain scale modeling is used to understand the mechanical behaviour of the soil/rock masses. Here, a three dimensional ground surface is modeled in a weak ground and a tunnel of circular profile is excavated inside the modeled ground surface. Studies are done on cases like tunnels without lining and tunnels with lining. Studies are also done on a twin tunnel in the same model to estimate how the response of the ground changes under the same situations. The variation of the stresses and strains indicate that the lining has considerably improved the stability and reduced the deformations around the tunnels.

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