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Innovative Materials and Design for Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure 318

Analysis on the 3D Dynamic Pressure Arch Effect around a Mountain Tunnel

Chengbing Wang1 and Hualao Wang2

1
Research Institute of Highway Ministry of Transport, Beijing 100191, China.
E-mail: cb.wang@rioh.cn
2
Research Institute of Highway Ministry of Transport, Beijing 100191, China.
E-mail: hl.wang@rioh.cn

Abstract

The existence of pressure arch of tunnel surrounding rock is while known in


engineering. The idea that this pressure arch in surrounding rock is helpful to
maintaining tunnel stability is accepted both in engineering and in research. In this
paper, variations of surrounding rock stress are investigated by using PFC3D, a
concept of dynamic pressure arch in the surrounding rock is proposed, and then the
3D dynamic pressure arch effect around the tunnel is analyzed. The 3D dynamic
pressure arch effect will be helpful to judge tunnel stability, choose excavation
method in tunneling, accurately determine the loosed load, economically design
advancing reinforcement measures and rock bolts.

INTRODUCTION

The idea of the existence of pressure arch in tunnel surrounding rock is


accepted widely (Kovari, 1994; Lee, 2000). There are many research concerning on
such pressure arch, which involve many aspects, such as pressure arch shape (Hu,
2014), criterion on judging pressure arch boundary (Huang, 2001 & 2002; Liang,
2005) etc. Few studies concerning variation of pressure arch during tunnel
excavation and the 3-Dimentional distribution and feature of pressure arch.
The software PFC is put forward by Cundall in 1970s (Cundall P. A., 1971),
which is a numerical discrete element method suitable for simulating mechanical
problem both in continuum and discontinuum media. PFC has been applied in
stability analysis of surrounding rock of tunnel successfully (Fakhimi A., 2002;
Wang C, 2004). In this paper, variations of surrounding rock stress are investigated
by using PFC3D, a concept of dynamic pressure arch in the surrounding rock is
proposed, and also the 3-Dimentional dynamic pressure arch effect around the tunnel
is analyzed.

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NUMERICAL TESTS ON MICRO PARAMETERS OF SURROUNDING


ROCK

To perform computation by PFC3D, parameters of the particle should be


identified in first. These parameters assigned to the particles in PFC3D are obtained
through numerical triaxial compression tests. In order to give a quantitative
simulation in engineering problem, numerical triaxial tests must be proceeded firstly
to get the particles micro parameters which would be used to simulate the actual
engineering problems later. Because of the limitation of computation, both the
method of model test and numerical simulation is combined to study the problem of
3D dynamic pressure arch effect around a tunnel. The geometric similarity ratio of
the model to the prototype is set as 1:50, and that of the gravitational similarity ratio
is set as 1:1. According to the similarity theory, under this condition, the similarity
ratio of Poisson ratio and internal friction angle are 1:1, and the similarity ratio of
cohesive strength and Youngs modulus equals to 1:50.
Simulation of compression test by PFC3D composed three steps, which are
test sample generation, consolidation and loading. The test sample of the numerical
test is 8.0cm high with a diameter of 3.91cm, which is the same in normal lab
triaxial compression test. The test sample is built up by uniform size particles
generated by the software with a diameter of 0.16cm. The initial porosity is 0.3 and
3919 particles are in the test sample in the numerical test.
Figure 1 shows the process of triaxial compression test simulated by PFC3D.
Figure 1 a) presents the constrain walls generated of a sample. Distribution of the
generated particles is shown IN Figure 1 b). Unbalanced force occurred between the
particles after the particle radius were expanded by the software. Figure 1 c) shows
the balanced state of the particles achieved automatically through circulate
computing. The test sample after loading is shown as Figure 1 d). Tab.1 shows the
basic parameters and the computed results of the model after a number of trials.

a b c d
Figure 1. Simulating process of triaixal test in PFC3D.

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Tab.1 Basic parameters and computed results of numerical triaixal tests.


Normal Calculating results
Particle Bonded
contact Stiffness friction
density strength E c
stiffness ratio coefficient ()
(kg/m3) (kPa) (MPa) (kPa)
(GPa)
2000 25 1 0.6 13 27.6 0.31 4.3 28.4

CALCULATING MODEL

The tunnel adopted in the numerical simulations is a two-lane mountain


tunnel, and it is 17.54cm in height and 22.0cm in width after scaled by a factor of 50.
According to symmetry principle, one half of the tunnel with a calculating range of
surounding rock was build in numerical simulations as shown in Figure 2. The
calculating model is 0.5m long in tunnel axial direction, and 0.5m wide in the cross
section plane. Distance between the tunnel and the bottom boundary is 0.3m, and the
buried depth of the tunnel is 0.6m. The excavation pace of the tunnel is set to 0.1m,
50000 computational cycles in each excavation step are set in the tunnel model to get
stable equilibrium, the deforming status is simulated after excavation without
support.
The process of numerical calculation is as follow: 1) Particles is generated
and compacted under the action of gravitational stress. 2) friction coefficient and
bonded strength are assigned to particles, then excavated the tunnel in five
steps.Figure 3 shows the calculating model, the particle diameter in tunnel model is
0.4cm and there are 78445 particles in the model.

Figure 2. Calculating range.

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Figure 3. Calculating model.

Some monitoring circles are set around the tunnel in different orientation to
study the stress changes variations of different position. Figure 4 a) shows the
arrangement of the monitoring circles, the intersection angle of adjacent monitoring
line is 30. 9 monitoring sections are set along the tunnel axial orientation as shown
in Figure 4 b), of which the distance each adjacent section is 5cm. There are 405
monitoring circles in the model.

a) b)
Figure 4. Sketch of monitoring circles.

RESULTS AND ANALYSIS OF NUMERICAL SIMULATION

Figures 5 and 6 show the variations of radial stress and circumferential


normal stress of the monitoring circles in No.5 monitoring section, and they are
taken as an example to explain the stress changes after tunnel excavation. The
figures show that the radial stress and circumferential normal stress in a given range
of the surrounding rock decrease after tunnel excavation, and the smaller the distance

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between the monitoring circle and tunnel boundary is, the larger the decreasing
amplitude of surrounding rock stress is.

stress changing value (kPa)


-2 L1
-4 L2

-6 L3
L4
-8
L5
-10
L6
-12 L7
-14
0 20 40 60
distance to tunnel boundary (cm)
Figure 5. Radial stress variation around the tunnel.

15
stress changing value (kPa)

L1
10
L2
5 L3
L4
0 L5
L6
-5
L7
-10
0 20 40 60
distance to tunnel boundary (cm)
Figure 6. Circumferential normal stress variation around the tunnel.

Figures 7 and 8 show the variation of radial stress and circumferential normal
stress of the monitoring circles along L7 in No.5 monitoring section, and they are
taken as an example to explain the stress variation during tunnel excavation. The
circumferential normal stress of the surrounding rock increases after tunnel
excavation, and the smaller the distance between the monitoring circle and tunnel
boundary is, the larger the increasing amplitude of surrounding rock stress is. The
circumferential normal stress of No.39 monitoring circle begin to decrease when
tunnel work face is 0.5B to the monitoring section, where B is the excavation pace,
which is 0.1m. After tunnel working face pass through No.5 monitoring section, the
circumferential normal stress of No.39 monitoring circle decrease obviously, the
circumferential normal stress of No.40 monitoring circle increases firstly and then
decreases. During tunnel excavation, the circumferential normal stress of No.41 and

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No.42 monitoring circle increase, and the peak value of the circumferential normal
stress moves gradually away from tunnel boundary to outer range. The radial stress
of the surrounding rock increases before tunnel working face arriving No.5
monitoring section, and the smaller the distance between the monitoring circle and
tunnel boundary is, the larger the increasing amplitude of surrounding rock stress is.
The radial stress of each monitoring circle begin to decrease when tunnel work face
is 1.5B to No.5 monitoring section, and the smaller the distance between the
monitoring circle and tunnel boundary is, the larger the decreasing amplitude of
surrounding rock stress is.

4
stress changing value(kpa)

2
0
-2
-4 39

-6 40
41
-8
42
-10
0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000
number of cycles
Figure 7. Circumferential normal stress during excavation.

2
stress changing value(kpa)

0
-2
-4
-6 39

-8 40
41
-10
42
-12
0 50000 100000 150000 200000 250000
number of cycles
Figure 8. Radial stress during excavation.

Figures 9 and 10 show the changes of radial stress and circumferential


normal stress of the monitoring circles around the tunnel after the 2nd excavation step
finished, in the figures, negative value in the abscissa axis means the monitoring
section is behind of tunnel working face, while positive value in the abscissa axis
means the monitoring section is in front of tunnel working face. The calculating

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results show that the stress status of each monitoring circle is closely related to the
distance between monitoring circle and tunnel working face. The circumferential
normal stress of the monitoring circles behind tunnel working face decreases. The
circumferential normal stress of the monitoring circles in front of tunnel working
face increases, and the smaller the distance between the monitoring circle and tunnel
working face is, the larger the increasing amplitude of surrounding rock stress is.
The radial stress of monitoring circles in a given range in front of tunnel working
face increases, and the radial stress of monitoring circles in outer of the range
decreases.

8
stress changing value(kPa)

6
1
4
2 5
0 10
-2
-4 18
-6 27
-8 33
-10
-12 39
-14
-20 -10 0 10 20 30

distance to tunnel working face(cm)


Figure 9. Circumferential normal stress around the tunnel.

4
stress changing value(kPa)

2 1
0
5
-2
10
-4
18
-6
-8 27
-10 33
-12 39
-14
-20 -10 0 10 20 30

distance to tunnel working face(cm)


Figure 10. Radial stress around the tunnel.

ANALYSIS ON 3D DYNAMIC PRESSURE ARCH EFFECT OF


SURROUNDING ROCK

A pressure arch formed around the tunnel in the surrounding rock after
excavation. The circumferential normal stress of the surrounding rock within

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pressure arch decreases. While circumferential normal stress increases outside the
pressure arch, and the smaller the distance to the pressure arch is, the greater the
increasing amplitude of the circumferential normal stress is. The pressure arch
boundary expands outward from the area of tunnel with the development of
surrounding rock deformation. In this progress, more areas in surrounding rock
entering the pressure arch. The circumferential normal stress of the surrounding rock
such areas entering pressure arch decreases. The pressure arch would be stable if a
stable collapse arch formed finally. The effect of pressure arch of the surrounding
rock disappears thoroughly and both the radial normal stress and the circumferential
normal stress of the surrounding rock near the tunnel decrease if a collapse develops
to the ground finally. Figure 11 shows the formation of the dynamic pressure arch in
the surrounding rock, which varies with tunnel excavating, a collapse beginning and
developing.

Figure 11. Sketch of dynamic pressure arch formation.

Figures 12 and 13 show the dynamic development of pressure arch of No.2


and No.5 monitoring section during tunnel excavation. Figure 14 shows the pressure
arch area of each monitoring section after the 3rd excavation step finished. The
pressure arch boundary is determined by differential analysis according to the point
which the changing value of the circumferential normal stress is zero. Imaginary
lines of 1 to 5 in Figure 10 represent the pressure arch boundaries corresponding to
1st excavation step to 5th excavation step.

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Figure 12. Changes of pressure arch of No.2 monitoring section.

18
pressurcme arch and tunnel

16 L1
The distance between

14 L2
boundary (cm)

12 L3
10
L4
8
L5
6
L6
4
L7
2
0
2 3 4 5
tunnel excavation step
Figure 13. Changes of pressure arch of No.5 monitoring section.

0.25
pressure arch area(m2)

0.2

0.15

0.1

0.05

0
-30 -25 -20 -15 -10 -5 0

distance to tunnel working face(cm)

Figure 14. pressure arch area of each monitoring section.

Some conclusions can be drawn from the figures. Firstly, the pressure arch
boundary expands outward from the area of the tunnel and the distance between
pressure arch and tunnel boundary increases gradually during excavation. Secondly,
the pressure arch range above the tunnel is bigger than that below the tunnel. Thirdly,

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the surrounding rock under the bottom of the tunnel reflects the pressure arch effect
firstly while tunnel working face is 1B in front of the monitoring section. Fourthly,
the larger the distance between monitoring section and tunnel working face is, the
bigger the pressure arch is.

CONCLUSIONS

1) The stress status of each monitoring circle is closely related to the distance
between monitoring circle and tunnel working face. The radial stress and
circumferential normal stress of the surrounding rock increase before tunnel working
face arriving the monitoring section, and the smaller the distance between the
monitoring circle and tunnel boundary is, the larger the increasing amplitude of
surrounding rock stress is. The radial stress and circumferential normal stress in a
given range of the surrounding rock decrease after tunnel working face pass through
the monitoring section, and the smaller the distance between the monitoring circle
and tunnel boundary is, the larger the decreasing amplitude of surrounding rock
stress is. During tunnel excavation, the peak value of the circumferential normal
stress moves gradually away from tunnel boundary. In front of the tunnel working
face, reflects that the unloading effect of the radial stress is faster than that of the
circumferential normal stress.
2) A concept of dynamic pressure arch of the surrounding rock is proposed,
and the dynamic pressure arch of calculation is analyzed. The dynamic pressure arch
will be helpful to judge tunnel stability, choose excavation method in tunneling,
accurately determine the loosed load, and economically design advancing
reinforcement measures and rock bolts for the practical projects.
3) The pressure arch boundary expands outward gradually during excavation,
and the larger the distance between monitoring section and tunnel working face is,
the bigger the pressure arch is. The pressure arch range above the tunnel is bigger
than that below the tunnel, and the surrounding rock under the bottom of the tunnel
reflects the pressure arch effect firstly.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors appreciate the support of Chinese National Nature Science Fund,
Grant No. 51278233 and 51008289.

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