The state of the art and future research on methods and testing of disintegrating rock are examined. Rocks are removed by four basic mechanisms: Mechanically induced stress, thermal spalling, fusion, and chemical reactions. Future research in this field should be aimed at combining the use of new rock-disintegration devices with conventional disk and roller cutters. By using new devices to slot the rock and conventional cutters to remove the unsupported rock, the advancement rate of tunnel borers could possibly by increased by a factor of 2 or 3. Proposed new techniques for cutting slots in the rock such as high pressure water jets, lasers, electron beams and the subterrene fussion device should be tested on small-diameter tunneling machines to determine their true potential for tunneling. Further testing should be done with the high-energy impact devices and new explosive tunneling devices should also be tested. Lastly if break throughs are made on the power outputs of focused heat sources such as lasers or electron beams, they should be tested on conventional tunnel borers to assist the mechanical cutters.

  • Record URL:
  • Availability:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This article appeared in TRB Special Report No. 171, Tunnel Construction: State of the Art and Research Needs. Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Maurer, William C
  • Publication Date: 1977

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures;
  • Pagination: p 21
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00156039
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Oct 13 1977 12:00AM