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Underground Space Use: Analysis of the Past and Lessons for the Future Erdem & Solak (eds)

) 2005 Taylor & Francis Group, London, ISBN 04 1537 452 9

On design analyses of NATM-tunnels

S.C. Mller & P.A. Vermeer
Institute of Geotechnical Engineering, University of Stuttgart, Germany

ABSTRACT: The design of tunnels requires a proper estimate of surface settlements and structural forces in linings. Here it is not feasible to use three-dimensional finite element calculations, as they are engineering time consuming. Instead relatively simple two-dimensional analyses are required. Here effects of three-dimensional arching are accounted for by the so-called Load Reduction Factor. Unfortunately there is very little data on the appropriate value of this factor. In order to improve this situation comparison is made between simple 2D and fully 3D analysis. In this paper results for circular NATM- (New Austrian Tunnelling Method) tunnels are shown. Influences of coefficient of lateral earth pressure at rest, stiffness ratio of ground and tunnel lining, strength parameters as well as geometric influences of tunnel diameter and cutting length are quantified. Moreover field data from a tunnel are considered in order to arrive at guidelines for the selection of the Load Reduction Factor.



A frequently discussed topic is the question, whether structural forces in tunnel linings as well as settlements should be computed by a fully three-dimensional analysis or whether more simple two-dimensional models are sufficient. No doubt, a tunnel constitutes predominantly a three-dimensional stress-strain-situation and threedimensional Finite-Element (FE) analyses have been adopted in engineering tunnelling practice. But such analyses are still very time consuming. For large tunnel projects with several kilometres of excavation and various cross sections three-dimensional analysis cannot be used as a design tool. In this case two-dimensional analyses are required. Two-dimensional FE-analyses have been applied already for a long time. For the calibration of such analyses an assumption about the three-dimensional arching effect has to be made in order to compensate the missing third dimension. This is done by means of the so-called load reduction factor, but assumptions have to be made about its magnitude. The present paper systematically compares threedimensional to two-dimensional FE-analyses in order to arrive with more information on proper load reduction factors. Analyses are both carried out for the design of tunnel linings, i.e. bending moments and normal forces, as well as for settlements due to tunnelling. Finally results of structural forces in tunnel linings and surface settlements are shown for the underground railroad Steinhaldenfeld-Tunnel in Stuttgart, Germany.

In order to simulate sequential tunnel excavation in a two-dimensional FE-analyses, an assumption about the third dimension has to be made. As two-dimensional analyses can not account for the three-dimensional arching effect at the tunnel heading an artificial support pressure 0 is applied, as indicated in Figure 1. Here 0 is the initial stress before construction of the tunnel and is the load reduction factor. In this paper we will simply refer to as the unloading factor. In practice there are a number of different approaches, but for the present study the so-called load reduction method (Schikora & Fink 1982), also known as the - or -method, has been adopted. Figure 1 shows the two calculation phases of the load reduction method, being related to the so-called ground-response or Fenner-Pacher curve (Pacher 1964). Starting from the initial geostatic stresses 0, with h K0 v, where K0 is the coefficient of lateral earth pressure at rest, ground elements inside the tunnel are switched off in the first phase. Inside the tunnel a support pressure of the amount 0 (with 0 1) is left to account for the missing threedimensional arching at the tunnel heading. To this point only the ground is loaded and settlements of the amount S1 occur. In the second phase the support pressure is removed and the lining is activated. Final settlements of the amount Stot occur in this phase due to the combined loading of ground and lining. Structural forces in the lining occur only during the second phase.


Figure 1. Display of load reduction method adopting ground response curve.

The amount of support pressure , which is determining the moment of placement of tunnel lining installation, is directly influencing the magnitude of both settlements and structural forces. A larger factor corresponds to an early installation of lining with larger structural forces and less settlements, a smaller factor leads to lower structural forces in the lining and larger settlements correspondingly. 3 THREE-DIMENSIONAL FE-ANALYSES

Figure 2. Three-dimensional FE-model, with D 7 m and d 1.5 m.

For more details on the required excavation length the reader is referred to Vermeer et al. (2002) and Bonnier et al. (2002).

4 Figure 2 shows a three-dimensional FE-mesh in a half-symmetric condition. NATM-tunnels with a circular cross section have been analyzed. The mesh of Figure 2 compriseses a tunnel diameter of D 7 m and a cutting length of d 1.5 m. It yields a total height of 57 m, a length of 120 m and a width of 60 m. Different meshes with diameters of 9 m as well as 11 m and cutting lengths of d 0.5 m as well as 1 m have also been analysed. All meshes had a cover of H 21 m and a width of 60 m. The minimum mesh length was taken eighty times the cutting length d. All measures were large enough to ensure for no influences of the mesh boundaries. To simulated the excavation process of NATMtunnels the so-called step-by-step-method (Wittke 1984) has been used. Again starting from initial geostatic stresses, the excavation sequence as indicated in Figure 2 has been repeated. In step i 1 ground elements inside the tunnel are removed to simulate an excavation of cutting length d. Once this excavation step is numerically simulated in step i the excavation is repeated for the next cutting length and at the same time the tunnel lining for the previous excavation is activated to support the ground. These calculation phases are repeated in steps i 1 to i n until a representative steady-state solution has been obtained.


For a particular tunnel geometry and a particular set of material properties, the finding of the corresponding value sometimes requires an iterative procedure. This is best explained by considering settlements as shown in Figure 1. Here a complete ground response curve is obtained from a two-dimensional FE-analysis and the settlement Stot is obtained from a three-dimensional FEanalysis. For tunnels in truly elastic ground and K0 1, the line from point A to point S1 in Figure 1 is linear. In such a linear case it is straightforward to compute the inclination of line AS1 and to find point B with the corresponding -value. This simple procedure even holds true for non-linear ground. Indeed for deep tunnels with K0 1 there is a more or less axis symmetric state of stress around the tunnel giving a cylindrical compression of the lining. As long as this lining behaves elastically line AS1 in Figure 1 will be linear. For shallow tunnels in non-linear ground, however, circular tunnel linings deform into ellipses with complex stress distributions and line AS1 is not longer linear. In such cases point B with its corresponding -value has to be computed iteratively. The above -finding procedure applies to settlements. Instead of considering settlements, one may


distributions show a significant increase at the left mesh boundary. These forces are non-physical but are effects related to the roller boundaries of the FE-mesh (Bonnier et al. 2002). Due to the stepwise excavation of NATM-tunnels results show a zigzagging pattern, which approaches a steady-state solution (Vermeer et al. 2002, Bonnier et al. 2002) after a total excavation length of about 10 d. In order to compute -values for the two-dimensional analyses the average value of these zigzag distributions (thick line in Figure 3) has been considered. The representative structural forces from the three-dimensional analyses were taken in the middle of the tunnel lining as indicated in the insert of Figure 3.


Figure 3. Evaluation of three-dimensional structural forces, (a) normal forces and (b) bending moments.

also compute ground response curves for bending moments and/or normal forces in linings. The settlement in Figure 1 might for instance be replaced by the maximum bending moment or the maximum normal force, as both of them increase when reducing the support pressure 0. No doubt, all three curves will be somewhat different and one will find three different factors: -settlement, -bending moment, -normal force. In the following results of -values of bending moments and normal forces will not be plotted as discrete curves but are shown in a band width for structural forces in general. 5 EVALUATION OF STRUCTURAL FORCES AND SETTLEMENTS

In tunnelling large amounts of soil and/or rock are excavated so that the ground underneath the tunnel is unloaded. Moreover, stress changes decrease with depth so that the soil or rock underneath the tunnel experiences on average only very small stress decrements. In such cases soil or rock will behave extremely stiff. Rather than using complex material models which account for stress and strain-level depending stiffnesses and which distinguish between loading and unloading, computations will be carried out for relatively simple material models with a constant stiffness modulus E both for loading and unloading. In order to account to some extend for the unloading and the small strain in the deep ground below the tunnel, a two-layer mesh is used for all analyses and the deep ground layer is taken much stiffer than the upper layers. The lining plate elements were simulated by using a linear elastic model. The increase of the shotcrete lining stiffness El with time has been accounted for by using a stepwise increase with excavation phases. Starting from an initial stiffness of El 7500 MN/m2 in step i an increase to El 15000 MN/m2 in step i 1 has been adopted. On considering -values, it should be emphasized that they depend on the lining thickness, the ground stiffness and the tunnel diameter, which can be combined into two relative stiffness factors


Figure 3 shows a representative situation of threedimensional distributions of bending moments and normal forces after an excavation of 50 d. Both

where R is the tunnel radius, ElIl the bending stiffness of the lining an tl the thickness of the lining. In all cases that will be considered both relative stiffness factors are small and -values are dominated by the stiffness and the strength of the ground.


Figure 5. Influence of friction angle, cohesion and cutting length for elasto-plastic ground. Figure 4. Influence of ground stiffness and cutting length for linear elastic ground. The results shown here were obtained from a tunnel with D 7 m, but are also valid for D 9 m and D 11 m.


First of all a linear elastic constitutive model for the ground behaviour has been used to simulate the influences of ground stiffness E, horizontal stress factor K0, tunnel diameter D and cutting length d. All analyses were carried out for a ground without ground water. The unit weight of the ground is taken to be 20 kN/m3 and the Poissons ratio 0,3. These values were kept constant throughout all analyses. All following results have been observed for a tunnel with a cover of H 21 m. No interfaces between tunnel and ground have been applied as full bonding of the lining is considered. Figure 4 shows the influence of ground stiffness E and cutting length d on the unloading factor . Both for structural forces and settlements the unloading factor is decreasing with increasing cutting length d. This seams logical, as a tunnel without a lining, i.e. d , has to have an unloading factor of 0 (no forces in the lining). Because of different unloading factors for bending moments and normal forces a band width for structural forces is plotted. The band width of structural forces is influenced by K0. For smaller values of K0 the upper lines of the scatter ranges drop down, for larger values of K0 much wider scatter ranges are observed. For a smaller ground stiffness however, the influence of K0 tends to disappear. With increasing ground stiffness a decrease of unloading factors is observed. The -values for settlements always remain within the bandwidth for structural forces. 8 ELASTO-PLASTIC ANALYSES

influences of the strength parameters and c. The friction angle has been varied by considering 20, 30, and 40. A wide range of the cohesion has been accounted for by c 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 160, 200, and 400 kN/m2. In these studies dilation was neglected by using a dilatancy angle equal to zero. As the elastic analyses the elasto-plastic analyses are carried out with full bonding, i.e. without interfaces between tunnel and ground. Figure 5 shows results of unloading factors for different cutting lengths, constant ground stiffness of E 20 MN/m2 and a constant friction angle of 20. With increasing cohesion the observed -ranges approach a horizontal plateau which corresponds to the linear elastic solution (left side of curves in Figure 4). The elasto-plastic solution begins to deviate from the linear elastic one at a cohesion of c 200 kN/m2. For larger friction angles the linear elastic part of the scatter range is extending to smaller values of cohesion. Unloading factors for settlements again remain within the observed bandwidth of structural forces. It is important to note, that the findings from Figure 5 correspond to the particular ground stiffness of E 20 MN/m2. For a higher stiffness results will render smaller values of unloading factors as can be seen from Figure 4. 9 INFLUENCE OF TUNNEL COVER

Following the linear elastic evaluations the elasto-plastic Mohr-Coulomb model has been used to determine the

The influence of the tunnel cover has yet not been observed in full detail. But for an elasto-plastic ground with 40 and c 40 kN/m2 a tendency for structural forces of this influence can be given. Figure 6 shows a linear relationship between the unloading factor and the tunnel cover H. With increasing tunnel cover unloading factors tend to drop down. More detailed research will be carried out to investigate, whether and H correspond in a linear relationship and if the steepness of the observed curve is influenced by the strength parameters and c or the


Figure 6. Qualitative influence of tunnel cover H on unloading factor.

Figure 7. Three-dimensional FE-model of Steinhaldenfeldtunnel. Table 1.

Figure 8. trough.

Calculated and measured transverse settlement

Ground properties of Steinhaldenfeld-tunnel. Cover layer Upper Keuper Marl 24 100 0,2 25 25 Lower Keuper Marl 23 60 0,35 25 25 Limestone 23 750 0,2 25 200

Unit weight [Kn/m3] E-Module E [Mn/m2] Poissons ratio [] Friction angle [] Cohesion c[Kn/m2]

20 15 0,375 25 10

ground stiffness. Moreover, the influence of tunnel cover on the unloading factor for settlements has not been evaluated yet. 10 CASESTUDY STEINHALDENFELDTUNNEL

Figure 7 shows a three-dimensional FE-model with excavation of top heading of Steinhaldenfeld-tunnel in Stuttgart, Germany. In addition to a full threedimensional FE-analyses two-dimensional analyses have been carried out in order to arrive at unloading factors for this more complex tunnel from site. In the following results of unloading factors for structural forces and surface settlements of Steinhaldenfeldtunnel will be shown. 10.1 Ground properties

any water pressures. Moreover, it was assumed, that no pore pressures would develop by performing a drained analysis. The ground behavior was described by the Mohr-Coulomb model with parameters given in Table 1. For the simulations of anchors additional ground properties have been used. Anchor forces have been modeled by an increased cohesion. Figure 7 shows a relative thin ground layer underneath the tunnel excavation. This is due to the fact, that the ground stiffness of deeper layers is a factor ten times higher than the stiffness of the layers above the tunnel. 10.2 FE-analysis of steinhaldenfeld-tunnel

The ground of Steinhaldenfeld-tunnel shown in Table 1 consists mainly of overconsolidated marl, which may be considered to be a hard ground as well as a soft rock. As ground water was of minor influence for this project the analysis was carried out without considering

For the three-dimensional analysis of the top heading hoarse shoe profile with a diameter of 9.6 m an excavation of 57 cutting lengths with d 1.2 m has been simulated. For further details the reader is referred to Mller et al. (2004). Figure 8 shows the results of computed and measured transverse settlement troughs. It is observed that the Mohr-Coulomb model predicts a relatively wide and shallow trough, which deviates from the measured one. At least for the steepness of the settlement


Figure 9. Comparison of three- and two-dimensional structural forces.

trough it is well known, that the elasto-plastic model in most cases is not able to predict reality (Herle 2003). Further details on the longitudinal settlement trough of Steinhaldenfeld-tunnel can be found in Mller et al. (2004) and Vermeer et al. (2003). The best fit for a two-dimensional settlement analysis was found for an unloading factor of 0.34. Figure 9 shows unloading factors for structural forces. For the bending moment 0.54 and for the normal force 0.64 was observed. Again it becomes obvious, that different unloading factors for settlements as well as for bending moments and normal forces have to be used, to match exact three-dimensional solutions. By comparing the -values of Steinhaldenfeldtunnel to the present study the unloading factor for settlements matches the solution of Figure 5 quite well, where as for structural forces one obtains slightly higher values. By considering the influence of Figure 6 solutions for more shallow tunnels yield higher unloading factors. Taking into account the smaller cover of 16 m of Steinhaldenfeld-tunnel the unloading factors for structural forces still seam to match present findings satisfactory. 11 CONCLUSIONS

stiffness have a minor influence, but should not be neglected. Elasto-plastic results show, that friction angle and cohesion have a considerable influence on unloading factors. The smaller the shear strength of the ground the smaller the unloading factors. For design analyses in elasto-plastic ground with H 21 m, E 20 MN/m2 and d 1 m it is advised to take 0.7 for structural forces and 0.3 for settlements, remaining on the save side of obtained results. First analyses on the influence of tunnel cover have shown, that unloading factors tend to increase with tunnel depth. In particular regarding friction angle and cohesion further research on the tunnel cover needs to be carried out. A case study on Steinhaldenfeld-tunnel in Stuttgart, Germany has given first evidence, that present findings are representative for practical applications. But never the less these results have to be treated with caution as many questions, such as influences of geometry of tunnel cross section, securing means like anchors etc. or complex ground layering still remain open. In these cases it is more appropriate to use a three-dimensional FE-analysis. REFERENCES
Bonnier, P.G., Mller, S.C., Vermeer, P.A. 2002. Bending Moments and Normal Forces in Tunnel linings. 5th European Conference Numerical Methods in Geotechnical Engineering (NUMGE). Paris: Presses de lENPC/LCP: 515522. Herle, I. 2003. Constitutive models for numerical simulations. In: Rational Tunnelling. Summerschool, Innsbruck: Ed. D.Kolymbas: Logos Verlag Berlin: 2760. Mller, S., Lehmann, T., Rogowski, E. 2004. Dreidimensionale Finite-Element-Berechnung der Setzungsmulde am Beispiel des Steinhaldenfeldtunnels in Stuttgart. Kolloquium Bauen in Boden und Fels. Tagungsband 4. Ostfildern: TAE: 275282. Pacher, F. 1964. Deformationsmessungen im Versuchsstollen als Mittel zur Erforschung des Gebirgsverhaltens und zur Bemessung des Ausbaues. In: Felsmechanik & Ing. Geologie, Suppl. I: S.149161. Schikora, K., Fink, T. 1982. Berechnungsmethoden moderner bergmnnischer Bauweisen beim U-Bahn-Bau. In: Bauingenieur: 193198. Vermeer, P.A., Bonnier, P.G., Mller, S.C. 2002. On A Smart Use of 3D-FEM in Tunneling. Proceedings 8th International Symposium on Numerical Models in Geomechanics (NUMOG VIII), Rome: A.A. Balkema Publishers, Lisse: 361366. Vermeer, P.A., Mller, S.C., Ruse, N. 2003. On the Application of Numerical Analysis in Tunnelling. Post proceedings 12th Asian Regional Conference on Soil Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering (12 ARC). Singapore, 48 August 2003, 2: 15391549. Wittke, W. 1984. Felsmechanik. Berlin/Heidelberg/New York/Tokyo: Springer Verlag.

The present study shows results of unloading factors for two-dimensional FE-analyses. Both structural forces in linings and settlements for circular NATMtunnels have been evaluated for a linear elastic and an elasto-plastic ground. Linear elastic as well as elastoplastic analyses show, that the cutting length has the most significant impact on unloading factors. The coefficient of lateral earth pressure at rest and ground