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Grout pressures around a tunnel lining

A.M. Talmon & L. Aanen

Delft Hydraulics, Delft, The Netherlands

A. Bezuijen & W.H. van der Zon

GeoDelft, Delft, The Netherlands

ABSTRACT: At the rear of many tunnel boring machines an annular space is being created that has to be filled
with grout. The grouting process is of importance with respect to subsurface settlements. The grouting pressures
determine both the loading on the tunnel lining and the loading on the soil around the tunnel. Calculation models
are presented to calculate the pressure distribution in the grout directly after the tunnel boring machine when
grout flow determines the pressure and several meters from the tunnel boring machine when buoyancy forces

1 INTRODUCTION Grout injection

Tail void filled
The Dutch government has decided to invest increas- with grout
ingly in research and knowledge development in civil TBM Tunnel
engineering. This has lead to the establishment of the vt
Delft Cluster.
GeoDelft and Delft Hydraulics, together with par-
ticipating end-users, have initiated research to develop detail
an understanding of the flow processes involved in
grouting. The philosophy is to focus on the physics
of the rheological processes, and to incorporate these
Figure 1. Schematization of grout flow pattern in the tail
in a mathematical model for the calculation of grout void of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) moving at an advance
pressures around a tunnel lining. rate vt . The grout is injected by six equally distributed
During drilling of a tunnel the grout is being injection openings. Dimensions not to scale.
pumped in the annular space through a number of
inflow-openings that are distributed over the circum-
ference. This annular space is also called tail void.
Typical 6 or less injection openings are used. From 2 MEASUREMENT OF GROUT FLOW
these injection openings, the principal grout flow takes PROPERTIES
place in tangential direction to fill the tail void, see
Figure 1. The flow pattern is governed by continuity 2.1 Grout flow experiments
and differences in flow-resistance. This flow pattern The behaviour of grout is complicated and depends on
is also influenced by time effects, because of ongoing many factors. It is difficult to measure the rheological
hydratation of cement and liquid loss. properties of grout mixtures. Small-scale experiments
An understanding of the fundamental behaviour of often fail because of the solid parts in the grout.
the grout in the tail void is needed in order to relate Interpretation of the outcome of such experiments
operational grouting conditions with grout pressures is difficult. One particular problem is that different
in the tail void. Therefore grout flow experiments were types of small scale testing apparatus, that aim at
conducted first. the measurement of the same rheological properties,
To controll soil deformations and forces acting on produce different results. Therefore prototype-scale
the tunnel lining, the grout pressures in the first few experiments are set up where the flow conditions
meters behind the tunnel boring machine have to be along the most important trajectories (streamlines) are
matched carefully with the surrounding. simulated.


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Pressure transducers 2.3 Results small scale rheological tests
Water Essential parameters to characterize grouts are yield
stress and viscosity, Tattersall & Banfill 1983.
Q Grout Modelling as a Bingham fluid suffices. The time-
F dependency of these parameters has to be accounted
for. A number of different apparatus were employed to
Figure 2. Set-up 1-D grout flow experiments. The grout is
measure those parameters: Brookfield rotoviscometer,
pressurized by a constant load acting on the piston at the
right. The grout is pushed forward by water being supplied Haake vane test, Torvane, slump test and pocket pen-
by means of a positive displacement pump. Dimensions are etrometer. The order of magnitude of measured shear
not to scale. stresses are given below.
Brookfield rotoviscometer tests on conventional
grout produced shear stresses up to 300 Pa before hard-
The experimental set-up consists of a circular pipe ening commences. These results might be flawed by
through which the grout is forced to flow, see sketch wall slip, Mannheimer 1983.Yield stresses obtained by
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Figure 2. The diameter of the pipe is comparable to Torvane tests and slump tests indicate yield stresses of
the dimension of the height of the tail void. The grout about 1 kPa and higher. When also some recent litera-
is pressured by a piston (about 3 bar). A standard type ture data is considered, Pelova 1996 and Ferraris & de
grouting mortar and a two-component chemical grout Larrard 1998, it is concluded that the yield stress of
(ETAC) are tested. Three different pipes have been fresh mortars is of the order of 1 3 kPa. Workability
employed: a smooth pipe to simulate the roughness of of mortars is typically 4 hours.
the tunnel lining, a rough pipe to simulate the surface Pocket penetrometer tests on the two-component
of the undisturbed soil, and a smooth but permeable chemical grout indicate yield stresses up to about
pipe to get rid of lubricating liquid films, sometimes 10 kPa before hardening commences. Vane tests pro-
being reported in the literature, Mannheimer (1983). duced yield stresses one order of magnitude smaller.
The remolded shear strength measured by the vane test
is of the order of 0.1 kPa.
2.2 Composition and small scale rheological
tests 2.4 Results grout flow experiments
The tested grouting mortar consists of a Portland The flow properties of the grouts have been tested in
cement paste (including a superplastifier and some a pipe of 10 cm diameter and a measuring section of
bentonite) and aggregates (coarse sand with a max- about 5 m length. Grout pressures are measured by
imum particle diameter of about 4 mm). The typi- 8 pressure sensors distributed over the length of the
cal mixture composition of the main ingredients is: pipe. This set-up allows for the determination of time-
water:cement:sand, 1/6, 1/12, 3/4 (weight ratio). dependent frictional properties of grout flow.The shear
The two-component chemical grout mixture con- stresses on the wall are computed from the pressure
sist of chemicals, clay-sand and some air. It does not drop between sensors.
contain coarse aggregates, and is light weight. The The granulometric composition of the coarse sand
mixture has the advantage of a quicker hardening fraction in the mortar is: d50 = 1 mm, d10 /d60 = 0.2. It
and less volume reduction during hardening than was not possible to pump the grout mortar by means
conventional grout. of the positive displacement pumps available. Con-
At the beginning of the experimental program some sequently we divised a method in which the grout is
small scale consistency tests were conducted to deter- confined between two pistons, much like the method
mine the order of magnitude of the flow resistance of reported by Ede (1957). The piston indicated on the
the grout and the time scale of rheological changes. right of Figure 2 provides backpressure, the other pis-
One of our goals was also to determine the relation ton separates the grout mortar from clear water that is
between pressurization of the grout, liquid loss, and being pumped at a controlled flow rate by a positive
associated change of rheological properties. Due to displacement pump.
experimental difficulties we did not succeed. However, In case of the two-component chemical grout, the
according to McKinley & Bolton 1999 the liquid loss piston indicated at the left hand side of Figure 2 is
of cement grouts will lead to a consolidated layer at discarded. A flange with a mixing nozzle is mounted.
the grout/soil interface. Such a layer has a higher shear The two components are being injected by means of
strength than the bulk of grout and a lower permeabil- the mixing nozzle. Two positive displacement pumps
ity. Consequently liquid losses will stop. We expect were used to supply the two components.
that such a consolidated layer does not significantly A broad range of grout flow velocities (2 mm/s
affect frictional characteristics of the grout flow in the 100 mm/s) was tested. The smallest velocity is compa-
tail void. rable to the advance rate of the tunnel boring machine


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350 number and position of the injection openings. The
finite difference technique is used to solve the flow and
300 pressure distribution. A shallow flow approximation
wall shear stress [Pa]

is employed. The flow is averaged over the thickness

of the grout layer. The thickness of the tail void is
200 assumed constant. The flow resistance is caused by
friction between the grout and the soil and between
150 the grout and the tunnel lining.
Because fresh grouts are characterized by a pour-
100 ing consistency (API 1967), no distinction is made
between grain and fluid stresses. The rheological
properties of the grout are modeled by a one-phase
0 viscoplastic Bingham fluid. The rheological properties
10 100 are a function of the time since injection.
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velocity [mm/s] The consequences of hydratation of cement are

accounted for by modelling the time-dependency of
Figure 3. Example of data obtained from 1-D grout flow the rheological properties. The consequences of fluid
experiments: Portland type mortar, smooth pipe.
loss from the grout to the surrounding soil are to
be accounted for by modelling the associated time-
(TBM). Such velocities are expected at some distance change of rheological properties.
from the injection openings. At outflow from the injec- The normal stresses in the grout are assumed
tion openings, and in supply pipelines, the velocities isotropic. Internal shear stresses in the grout, due to
are about two orders of magnitude larger. velocity differences with neighboring grid cells, are
An example of the results of one of the test series is neglected. The surplus grout being injected to com-
given in Figure 3. It concerns the flow of grout mortar pensate fluid loss is not included in the continuity
in a smooth pipe. The wall stresses at three different equations of the model.
grout flow velocities are given. The grout pressures The model calculates the distribution of grout pres-
varied in time and location. In the graph the results for sures in an area covering the entire circumference of
the wall shear stresses obtained from different pairs the tunnel lining over a distance of one or more tunnel
of pressure sensors are given together with the root- lining segments adjacent to the rear of the TBM.
mean-square values.
The results show that wall shear stresses are an order 3.2 Grout flow model
of magnitude smaller than the yield stress of the grout.
It is concluded that a lubricating film has formed along The flow-field is calculated in a computational domain
the wall, the rheology of which will be governed by moving with the TBM. The flow velocity components
cementious fluid in between the coarse grains of the with respect to the moving frame of reference are: Vs
grout. and Vn . The s-co-ordinate is parallel with the tunnel
We also observed that fluid loss due to pressuriza- axis. The n-co-ordinate is directed tangential to the
tion of the grout strongly increases the flow resistance circumference of the tunnel lining. The origin of the
in case of a rough pipe (roughness 200 m). This is coordinate system is at the rear of the TBM at the
due to grain contact between the grout and the rough crest. These orthogonal velocity components satisfy
wall. This means in practice that in case of fluid loss to continuity. Friction between the grout and the tunnel
the surrounding soil the shear stresses at the interface lining and the undisturbed soil is responsible for pres-
grout/soil will be of the order of the yield stress of the sure losses in the tail void. In order to calculate wall
grout. friction, the flow velocity (Us , Un ) with respect to these
The grout flow experiments produced reliable data boundaries is considered:
on the flow resistance as a function of flow velocity.
These are, in combination with other data, input to
the mathematical model for the calculation of grout with: t = advance rate TBM (during excavation).
pressures in the tail void. The two momentum equations that relate grout
pressures with frictional properties are:


3.1 General features grout flow model

in which: h = thickness grout layer, p = grout pressure,
A 2-dimensional numerical model has been devel- = density grout mixture, g = gravity, = inclination
oped to calculate grout pressures as a function of the angle.


Copyright 2006 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC

To calculate the wall shear stresses s and n , the 4 CALCULATED PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION
shear rate of the grout flow at the walls has to be DIRECTLY AFTER THE TBM
considered. This shear rate is, in analogy to laminar
flow of Newtonian fluids in slit-geometry conducts, Two different injection strategies are simulated. One
approximated by: strategy in which six injection openings are distributed
equally, and one strategy in which only three injection
openings near the crest are employed. The three injec-
tion openings near the crest are located at 2, 10 and
12 hour positions. In case of six injection openings
The wall shear stresses are calculated by: these are located at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 hour positions.
The input parameters are given in Table 1.
These rheological parameters are characteristic for
typical mortars employed in tunnelling. The yield
stress and dynamic viscosity are mean values of fric-
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in which: = apparent viscosity tion with the tunnel lining and the soil. The results are
The rheological parameters of the Bingham model not very sensitive to the value of the dynamic viscosity
are the yield stress and dynamic viscosity. The relation because of creeping grout flow.
between the shear rate and the shear stress is given by: The calculated grout pressures are given in Figures 4
and 5. These calculations show that grout pressures in
the first tunnel lining segment rings behind the TBM

with: y = yield stress, K = dynamic viscosity. Table 1. Typical operational conditions grout injection.
The values of the parameters have been deter-
mined by the small scale rheological experiments Parameter Value
and the grout flow experiments. For two-component
grout special attention is needed for the influence of Outer diameter tunnel lining D = 10 [m]
Thickness grout layer h = 0.15 [m]
air on the parameters. Due to ongoing hydratation
Drive speed TBM (continuous) vt = 1 [mm/s]
and cementation of the grout, the resistance against Soil pressure at crest tunnel 400 [kPa]
deformation increases. The time-dependency has been Yield stress at t = 0 y0 = 1500 [Pa]
modelled by an exponential function (depending on Yields stress at t = y = 2500 [Pa]
grout properties other functions can be chosen): Dynamic viscosity K at t = 0 K0 = 50 [Pa s]
Dynamic viscosity K at t = K = 75 [Pa s]
Time scale rheology changes T = 14400 [s]
Density of grout mixture = 2000 [kg/m3 ]

in which: y0 = shear stress at t = 0, y = shear

stress at t = , K0 = dynamic viscosity at t = 0, 0
K = dynamic viscosity at t = . In the model at
t = asymptotic rheological values are reached. The 315
validity of the model is however restricted to condi- 600
tions where the grout is still workable. 400
The apparent viscosity of a Bingham fluid is given
by: 200
270 0 90

0.0 m
4.1 m
In case of extremely small velocities, the apparent
viscosity has been limited to = y /0.0001 to obtain 225 135
numerical stability.
In the mathematical model the wall shear stresses 180
on the tunnel lining and the soil are assumed equal.
To account for differences between these wall shear Figure 4. Calculated pressure distribution at rear of the
stresses, the rheological parameters at input should TBM: 6 injection openings equally distributed. Pressures at
represent mean frictional conditions of both surfaces. 0 and 4.1 m behind the TBM.


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are strongly influenced by the choice of active grout 5 FIELD DATA, COMPARISON WITH
injection openings. CALCULATION RESULTS
The pressure distribution is nearly static when grout
is supplied by uniformly distributed injection open- The results from the finite difference model give
ings, with locally higher values in front of the injection insight how the injection pressure can influence the
openings, Figure 4. When a small number of injec- average value of the grouting pressure and how the
tion openings is used, the grout has to cover longer pressure distribution directly after the TBM can be
distances. In that case the pressure distribution may influenced by the number and position of the injection
be affected to such an extent that the static pressure openings. However, the pressure distribution further
contribution may be obscured completely, Figure 5. from the TBM, but before the grout is hardened, is
The flow pattern is governed by continuity and dif- influenced by buoyancy and the stiffness of the tun-
ferences in flow-resistance. Continuity determines the nel lining and cannot be influenced by the number and
gross distribution of grout from the injection open- position of the injection openings.
ings, differences in flow-resistance govern local flow. A nearly linear pressure distribution has been found
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To explain the latter phenomenon consider a Newto- in the grout further from the injection openings, Fig-
nian fluid (=constant viscosity). Radial outflow will ure 6. However, the pressure increase with depth does
take place near injection openings. The drag due to not correspond with the density of the grout, but is
the velocity difference between moving grid and sta- less. This is caused by buoyancy forces acting on the
tionary frictional boundaries (the walls) is everywhere tunnel lining.
the same in the tail void. Consequently this will not The buoyancy of the tunnel lining induces side-
lead to deviations from radial outflow. The pressure ward and downward forces on the grout. Provided that
field however will show under-pressures created by opposing wall shear stresses are smaller than the yield
the advancing TBM. In case of shear thinning fluids, stress of the grout, an upward movement of the tunnel
such as Bingham fluids, the viscosity is a function of lining is prevented. In the tail-void, the equilibrium of
the velocity difference with the stationary walls. Con- pressure gradient and wall shear stresses is given by:
sequently the flow has the tendency to shift to regions
where the velocity difference is largest. This is the case
in a zone adjacent to the rear of theTBM. Consequently
transverse flow will dominate.
When the forward movement of theTBM is halted to
mount tunnel lining segments, the duration of the inter- with: p = deviation from static grout pressure.
ruption of the grout injection is an important factor,
because of ongoing aging of the grout. It is also pos-
sible to calculate consequences on grout distribution 0
and pressure field. The sample computations given in
Figures 4 and 5 do not include such interruptions. 1
depth below top tunnel (m)

2 hydr. press. A
pore press.
calc press. A
0 4 hydr. press. B
kPa 5 calc. press. B
315 600 45 meas. A
meas. B
400 7
200 8
270 0 90 9
0.0 m 0 100 200 300 400
4.1 m pressure (kPa)
225 135 Figure 6. Measured and calculated grout pressures at two
different times. (A) just after the TBM when the pressure
180 and the position of the injection points dominate and (B),
where the influence of the buoyancy force on the tunnel
Figure 5. Calculated pressure distribution at rear of the lining dominates the pressure distribution. Measured and cal-
TBM: 3 injection openings near the crest. Pressures at 0 and culated pressure are considerably lower than according to the
4.1 m behind the TBM. hydrostatic pressure that is also presented in the figure.


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Integration of p and n over the circumference monitoring of a railroad tunnel being constructed in the
gives: Netherlands.
Attention should be given to validation of the
simplifications we allowed for in the 2-D model.
Special attention is needed with respect to rheolog-
ical characterization of grouts, change of rheological
properties, consequences of fluid loss and frictional
with: F = net buoyancy force per unit length. properties at the grout/soil interface.
With these two equations it is possible to calcu-
late grout pressures due to buoyancy. Figure 6 shows
results of calculations compared with measured grout ACKNOWLEDGMENT
pressures for two situations.
For the situation (A) just after the TBM when the Project Organization Betuweroute (NS Railinfra-
injection pressure and the position of the injection beheer), Project Organization High-Speed Line (HSL-
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openings dominate, the yield stress is fitted to the Zuid), Nederlandse Bouwstoffen Combinatie, Delft
measurement data to get the best agreement. Cluster.
For the situation (B), where the influence of the
buoyancy force of the lining dominates the pressure
distribution, it was assumed that the buoyancy force is REFERENCES
the only uplift force that has to be counteracted by the
grout. In reality the clamping between various lining API committee 116, Cement and Concrete Terminology,
elements and the weight of the TBM will also influence American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1967.
the uplift force on the lining elements. Therefore the Ede, A.N. 1957. The resistance of concrete pumped through
pipelines. Magazine of Concrete Research. vol. 9. no.27.
measurement points give a bit higher pressure than the
pp 129140.
calculation. Pelova, G.I. 1996. BML-viscometer Measurements of rhe-
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experimental study. Progress in Concrete Research;
6 CONCLUSIONS Annual Report Delft University. vol. 5.
Tattersall, G.H. & Banfill, P.F.G. 1983. The Rheology of Fresh
Concrete. Pitman.
Relations between grout injection, the rheological Ferraris, C.F. & Larrard, F. de. 1998. Testing and Modelling
properties of the grout and grout pressures in the tail of Fresh concrete rheology. NISTIR 6094. 62p.
void have been quantified. Mannheimer, R.J. 1983. Effect of slip on flow properties of
It has been shown that it is possible to calculate the cement slurries can flaw resistance calculations. Oil, &
pressure distribution at the rear of the TBM, where Gas Journal. Dec. vol. 5. pp 144147.
filling of the tail void is most critical. It has also been McKinley, J.D. & Bolton, M.D. 1999. A geotechnical descrip-
shown that it is possible to calculate the pressure distri- tion of fresh cement grout; filtration and consolidation
bution farther from the TBM where buoyancy effects behaviour. Magazine of Concrete Research. vol. 51. no. 5.
pp 295307.
are important.
Our understanding of the fundamental behaviour of
grout flow in the tail void will be verified by dedicated


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