Assessment of the Stability of an Unlined Rectangular Tunnel with an Overload on the Ground Surface

City tunnels are often constructed at shallow depths, and tunnel failure may be initiated by overloads resulting from surrounding buildings, structures, heavy-haul trailers, and other installations. Although several works have been reported on tunnel stability, stability numbers have mainly been obtained for cases with fully cohesive soils. Moreover, little information has been presented about the influence of overloads on the failure patterns for unlined rectangular tunnels. This paper uses upper-bound finite element methods to assess the stability of an unlined rectangular tunnel in cohesive-frictional soils with an overload acting on the ground surface. A complete set of dimensionless parameters covering the tunnel size and shallow tunnel depth and Mohr-Coulomb material parameters are determined to obtain the dimensionless overload. In addition, failure modes that are similar to slip line fields are acquired. A failure mechanism that may cause base heave is proposed in this paper to improve the accuracy of the results. These failure patterns are more complex for cases with larger dimensionless depth, larger internal friction angle, and smaller dimensionless unit weight. Compared with the rigid-block mechanisms from the upper-bound rigid-block analysis method, these computed failure mechanisms are better suited for rectangular tunnel stability analysis.


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  • Accession Number: 01761818
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 24 2020 2:14PM