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ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress, WTC2020 and 46th General Assembly Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia 15-21

May 2020

3D-Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis of Staged Shield-driven Tunnel Excavation


with a Focus on Response of Segmental Tunnel Linings
N. Allahverdi1,2, V. Nasri1, M. Bakhshi1 and M. Partovi3
1
AECOM, New York, USA
2
New York City College of Technology, New York, USA
3
DIANA FEA BV, Delft, The Netherlands
E-mail: verya.nasri@aecom.com

ABSTRACT: The complex and dynamic nature of shield-driven tunnel excavation, staged construction, segmental lining installation process,
and tail-void grouting necessitate using detailed numerical modeling for predicting ground behavior and response of segmental lining. In this
paper, results of three-dimensional advanced finite element modeling using DIANA program are presented simulating shield-driven tunnel
excavation in one of major ongoing construction projects in the North America. A stage-based analysis is adopted to simulate mechanized
tunneling procedure. Time-histories of critical responses are obtained and discussed for each stage as excavation progresses. In addition,
results of three analysis cases considering different joint models, i.e. rigid joints, perfect hinge joints, and Janssen joints are discussed and
compared.

KEYWORDS: DIANA, Finite element modeling, Grouting, Segmental lining, Shield-driven tunneling, Staged analysis,

1. INTRODUCTION behalf of designers. This can explain the appeal of approximate


formulas such as Muir Wood despite its limitations.
There are different numerical approaches at designers’ disposal to
evaluate ground response due to tunnelling in order to identify 2. CASE STUDY OF RÉSEAU EXPRESS MÉTRO-
tunnel’s liner behavior in response to ground deformation; each POLITAN (REM) PROJECT
approach yields results with a certain level of accuracy up to
reliability of its underlying assumptions. Nevertheless, the need for The Réseau Express Métropolitain (REM) is an electric and fully
more reliable, and sophisticated modeling is on the rise due to automated, light-rail transit network envisioned to facilitate mobility
technological advancements in design of tunnel boring machines across the Greater Montreal Region in Canada. This new transit
(TBM’s) and their ever-increasing capability in navigating difficult network will be linking downtown Montreal, South Shore, West
ground and building large diameter tunnels with shallow covers. As Island, North Shore and the airport. The project consists of 67 km of
a natural consequence, this necessitates adopting detailed numerical twin tracks over four branches connected to downtown Montreal.
models accounting for all processes involved in mechanized shield
driven tunnelling to realistically simulate ground-machine-liner 2.1 General background
interactions [Kasper, and Meschke]. REM project includes 26 stations with 3 underground stations in
downtown Montreal. One of the underground stations will be built
As an example of level of details of numerical models is whether, or using the NATM method and the two others with the cut and cover
how to consider effects of longitudinal and circumferential joints approach. The project also includes rehabilitation and expansion of
formed in segmental lining. Explicit inclusion of longitudinal, and the Mont Royal Tunnel.
circumferential joints in the liner model would be ideal; however, it
can prove time consuming as far as model generation and run time The REM also consists of 3.6 km new TBM tunnel connecting
are concerned. Currently, it’s common to replace a segmented ring downtown to the Montreal International Airport and to be bored
in a finite element model with an ‘equivalent’ continuous liner with through saturated soft ground and karstic rock. Three-dimensional
reduced bending stiffness [Le, and Ge]. For example, equivalent analysis of this new tunnel is the focus of this paper.
bending stiffness, Ie in a segmental liner with n segments (key The contract as a design-build delivery type is currently under
segment is not counted) can be approximated by Muir Wood construction by a joint venture of SNC Lavalin, AECON, Dragados,
formula: EBC, and Pomerleau. The final design is being performed by a joint
venture of SNC Lavalin and AECOM.
Ie = Ij + (4/n)2 I (Ie < I, n > 4) (1)
2.2 Geological condition
In which, equivalent moment of inertia of a segmented liner is
As mentioned, the tunnel alignment will pass through soil, rock, and
approximated by contributions from moment of inertia at joints (Ij),
expected mixed faces. The bedrock elevation varies significantly
and a fraction of the moment of inertia of the liner. Number of equal
along the alignment, resulting in a variable overburden with
length segments in a ring is represented as n. This formula should be
thicknesses in the range of 12 to 20 m. The overburden consists of
used with great care as it can underestimate the bending rigidity of
layers of backfill, granular material and glacial till, as descending in
liners especially for rings with more numbers of segment (higher
depth. The bedrock consists of interbedded limestone, and shaly
values of n), and consequently underestimate bending moments
limestone belonging to two different formations: the Tétrauville
developed in the liner due to underestimating bending stiffness. For
formation and the Montreal formation.
example, Wood Muir suggests considering 44% of bending stiffness
of the liner for an equivalent jointed ring for a ring with 6 segments. Given significant variation in geological features, the new tunnel
One of the objectives of this paper is to quantify the impacts of will be bored using a hybrid tunnel boring machine (TBM), which
joints through explicit modeling of the joints in the simulation, and will be able to advance within loose overburden material in earth
verify Muir Wood formula. pressure balance (EPB) mode and in open mode during its
progression through competent rock. As the TBM advances, precast
Despite remarkable improvements in the ease of use of finite segmental lining will be installed, ensuring the stability of the
element programs, generating detailed models are time-consuming. opening and the safe development of the tunnel. Routine probing
Building a three-dimensional model, meshing the geometry, and ahead of the face will be also performed to assess ground
defining construction sequences demand a great deal of time on
ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress, WTC2020 and 46th General Assembly Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia 15-21 May 2020

mechanical and hydraulic conditions prior to excavation. Based on reduced risk of air entrapment in the anchorage area. The gasket
on ground conditions, pre-excavation grouting performed ahead of provids watertightness under the maximum expected groundwater
the face may be required in order to improve mechanical and pressure of 965 KN/m2 (9.6 bar). This gasket profile guarantees
hydraulic properties of the ground before excavation. watertightness for 2.0 times the maximum working water pressure
considering a combination of gasket differential gap of 5 mm and
2.3 Tunnel’s segmental lining bearing surface offset of 10 mm.
One-pass fiber-reinforced precast segmental lining will be installed
to serve as initial and final lining for the tunnel. This was
determined based on assessing geotechnical condition, risk
mitigation measures, and cost consideration. Concrete segmental
lining of 300 mm thickness with an internal diameter of 6478 mm
was designed to satisfy the project’s space-proofing requirements.
Each 1700 mm long ring is assembled with 6+1 segments,
consisting of five rhomboidal segments, one trapezoidal reverse key
segments, and one trapezoidal key segment approximately one-
fourth of other segments measured in curved length as shown in
Figure 1.

Ring segmentation into 6+1 segments results in segment slenderness,


or aspect-ratio (the ratio of segment curved length to thickness) of
11.4 which is near the maximum ratio commonly used in fiber
reinforced concrete (FRC) segments. Higher values of segments’
aspect-ratio design result in less numbers of segment and joints,
stiffer segmental ring, reduced production cost as well as less
hardware for segment connection, less gasket length and less
numbers of bolt pockets where leakage may potentially occur. More
importantly, construction speed can increase significantly as Figure 2 Geometry of the model with details of longitudinal, and
segment pieces reduce. circumferential joints

2. FINITE ELEMENT MODELING (FEM)


The complex and dynamic nature of shield driven tunnel excavation,
staged construction, segmental lining installation process, and tail-
void grouting necessitate using detailed finite element modeling for
realistic simulation of ground behavior and predicting internal forces
in segmented rings. In this work, DIANA (displacement analyzer)
Figure 1 Rings are formed from rhomboidal and trapezoidal
version 10.3 [DIANA FEA] was utilized for three-dimensional FEM
segments.
of a portion of the tunnel bored in loose soil.
An advantage of using rhomboidal segment system include Figure 2 shows the model for a stretch of the tunnel mostly
staggered longitudinal joints, continuous ring building and excavated in clayey sand/gravel. The extent of the model was
compatibility with a dowel type connection in circumferential joints, determined in such a way to minimize boundary effects on the
which results in a faster ring assembly process comparing to analysis results while allowing the analysis to be performed
rectangular systems. In addition, universal rings were selected for efficiently. The width and the depth of the model is 15 times and 4
this project assembled from rings with circumferential joints times the diameter of the tunnel, respectively. The model considers
inclined to the tunnel axis on both sides. One of the main advantages installation of 16 segmental rings (a stretch of 27.2 m) while the
of universal ring system over other systems (e.g. left/right rings) is longitudinal length of the model is considered as 68 m, which is 40
using only one type of forms for segment production. times the length of one ring. As shown in Figure 2, segmental ring
configurations composed of rhomboidal-trapezoidal segment system
Longitudinal and circumferential joint surface were designed as flat and staggered joint are directly imported into the model from shop-
joints which are advantageous for load transfer between the drawings. Precast fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) segments are
segments and rings compared to other types of joints. Flat joints modeled as shell elements and a multi-linear tension softening
have been proven to have a superior sealing performance. Bolt function is used for modeling FRC material through back-
connection was designed for longitudinal joints and dowels were calculations on standard FRC beam responses. The segmental joints
chosen for connecting rings in circumferential joints as they require formed between segments, or rings are included in the model using
less work for the construction of the segment form and less line interfaces elements. Different joint models (such as rigid,
manpower in the tunnel as the insertion is automatically performed perfect hinge, and Janssen) can be assigned through properly
by the erector when the segment is positioned. For the first time in assigning properties of the interface element. Elastic surface
North America, a new dowel system, SOF-FIX ANIX 60 ASY, was interfaces are used between the lining and the surrounding ground.
designed as the dowel connection device system in circumference.
2.1 TBM process modeling
The gasket type for sealing joints between segments was designed as Three-dimensional finite element modeling allows to simulate
fiber-anchored gasket. Fiber-anchored gasket system has been construction process sequences specific to shield-driven tunnelling
successfully specified by the Designer in previous projects which is via a staged analysis [Allahverdi et. al.] The model is first initialized
considered among the latest trends in EPDM gasket design. This with prescribing in-situ stresses in the ground (stage 0). After
new technology offers additional pull-out resistance comparing to initialization stage, sequential ring building process begins with
conventional glued gasket system and has several advantages over modeling the TBM shield, and assembling the first ring (stage 1).
anchored gaskets such as reduced risk of incorrect installation and Ring building process includes excavating ground and advancing the
ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress, WTC2020 and 46th General Assembly Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia 15-21 May 2020

‘TBM shield’ by one ring. The length of the shield is assumed to be hardened and provide full contact between ground and rings. This is
equivalent to four rings, or 6800 mm. Accordingly, soil elements justified assuming TBM advance rate of two rings per hour, and the
within the shield (equivalent of 4 rings) are deactivated. In order to fact that it takes approximately one hour for two-component grout to
model supporting effect of the shield, surface interface elements are harden. Accordingly, in this analysis, the grout pressure was applied
defined in contact with ground. Interface elements possess high on the most recently activated segmental ring at each construction
normal stiffness values in compression to model the shield and limit stage and one ring immediately behind, considering anticipated
convergence of the ground. A small normal stiffness is initially advance rate and hardening time of two-component grout. This is
assigned to the interface elements to model conical shape of the clearly shown in Figure 3, where rings 12-13 are under grout
shield. pressure.

Construction stages are progressed with advancing the excavation at 2.3 Segmental joints
each stage by excavating ground, moving the shield model and face
pressure forward by one ring, and installing a new segmental ring One of the objectives of this modeling is to systematically identify
immediately behind the tail and applying gout pressures on the most impacts of the longitudinal, and circumferential joints on internal
recently activated ring and one ring immediately behind. A sample forces developed in the liner, as well as ground response. To do so,
construction stage is shown in Figure 3 when 11 segmental rings are geometry of all joints was imported into the model, and line
built; and rings 12-13 are under tail-void grout pressure just behind interface elements were defined to model neighboring’s joint
the shield which occupies future rings of 14-17. interaction. Three different joint behaviors were assumed and
implemented in three models: a) rigid joints, b) perfectly hinge
joints, and c) Janssen joints. In rigid joint model, the liner is
equivalent to a continuous liner and introducing the geometry of
joints will be of no consequences. In contrary, in perfect hinge case,
and possibly Janssen model, explicit modeling of joints can change
the results. It is expected that the results obtained for Janssen joint
will be bounded by results of rigid, and hinge cases as these two
cases represent two opposite extremes. The results for all three cases
will be reported in Results section.

2.4 Materials constitutive models


Three different materials constitutive models were used in modeling
ground layers, namely: a) Mohr-Coulomb, b) Hardening-Soil, and c)
Hoek-Brown model. Properties for each model were obtained from
Figure 3 Shield-driven TBM processes simulated in the finite geotechnical data available to the Designer and are reported in Table
element model. At this stage of analysis depicted, rings number 1- 1. Analyses were performed for drained scenarios to simulate long-
11 are installed; rings 12-13 are under tail-void grout pressure; term ground behaviors.
shield is occupying rings 14-17 with the TBM facing future
excavation drift 18. Longitudinal/circumferential joints are shown Table 1 Mechanical Properties
on assembled rings. Item Fill Clayey Glacial Rock
Sand/Gravel Till
As shown in Figure 3, a variable face pressure is considered in the Material MC HS HS HB
model to control the ground movement into the TBM from the face Model*
of excavation. To do so, the horizontal in-situ stress along the tunnel γsat (KN/m3) 18 20 21 27
cross section was obtained from the initialization stage of the
E' (KN/m2) 6000
analysis and was applied as a variable balancing face pressure
E50ref (KN/m2) 24000 48000
throughout the excavation.
Eoedref (KN/m2) 24000 48000
In principle, staged construction turns into a repetitive cycle of Eurref (KN/m2) 72000 144000
deactivating ground elements and activating segmental linings. Each power, m 0.5 0.5
subsequent construction stage consists of installing segmental ring φ (o) 30 32 36
in the model that follows advancing the excavation and moving the ν 0.25 0.25 0.3 0.16
shield model and applying face pressure progressing one ring which E'rm (KN/m2) 19,000,000
is equal to 1700 mm. σci (KN/m2) 104000
mi 10
Shield provides support for the excavation; however, its conical GSI 70
shape allows for some ground movements along the shield length. D 0
The shield conicity can impact ground deformation as a contributing *
MC: Mohr-Coulomb, HS: Hardening Soil, HB: Hoek-Brown
volume-loss factor and therefore it needs to be considered in the
analysis. In DIANA, conical shield support was modelled using
compression-only interface elements with maximum gap of 25 mm 3. RESULTS
at the tail of the shield. The interface element is characterized by This section presents and discusses results obtained from the
relatively low normal and tangential stiffnesses when the gap is numerical models. The results are presented for ground deformation,
open; and with very large normal stiffnesses when prescribed gap settlement trough, deformation at tunnel’s crown, and internal forces
closes. Compression-only interface elements with a step-wise in the liner.
variable gap was implemented to simulate a gap of zero thickness at
the cutterhead and 25 mm thickness at the tail. The results are shown for different assumptions on the behavior of
joints in the liner; namely a) rigid joints, which represents a
2.2 Tail-void grouting continuous liner, b) perfect hinge joints, which is indicative of joints
Tail-void grout pressure was applied on two most recently with no bending rigidity, and c) Janssen joint model which
assembled rings; and in prior rings grout was assumed to be represents joints provide some rotational rigidity according to
ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress, WTC2020 and 46th General Assembly Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia 15-21 May 2020

Janssen model. The results of Janssen model should be bounded


within the range provided by two opposite extremes of rigid joints,
and hinge joints assumptions. It is noted that rigid joint model case
is effectively representative of a continuous liner with no joints. As
far as modeling time is concerned, generating a continuous liner
model with no explicit longitudinal joint is faster compared to
models with explicit modeling of joints.

3.1 Ground deformation


A typical contours of ground deformation is shown in Figure 4. This
contour obtained from rigid joint model, which is effectively
representative of a continuous liner. Maximum ground settlement of
0.019 m is observed above ring number 10. At this stage, a total of Figure 6 Longitudinal settlement troughs for rigid joint (continuous
16 rings is installed. liner), and perfect hinge liner. The results correspond to completion
of ring number 16 with the TBM face located at ring number 20.
Figure 5 shows time history of maximum ground settlement
development approximately above ring number 10 as construction
progresses and subsequent rings are installed. It should be noted that
most of the settlement occurs before or while TBM is installing ring
number 10. Afterward, rate of settlement at this point decreases as
TBM moves away from it.

Figure 7 Transverse settlement troughs for rigid joints (continuous


liner), and perfect hinge liner. The results correspond to completion
of ring number 16 with the TBM face located at ring number 20.

3.3 Deformation at crown


Figure 4 Typical contours of ground deformation. This contour Figure 8 depicts time history of tunnel’s crown deformation at ring
belongs to the rigid joint model, representing a continuous liner. number 10 as construction progresses and subsequent rings are
Maximum ground settlement of 0.019 m is observed above ring installed. It is noted that most of the deformation occurs while TBM
number 10. At this stage, total of 16 rings are installed. is approaching ring number 10; and after passing TBM, rate of
deformation decreases.

Figure 5 Maximum ground settlement history measured above ring


number 10 on surface. Continuous ring represents results when rigid
joint model is considered. Figure 8 Tunnel’s crown deformation history measured at ring
number 10. Continuous ring represents results when rigid joint
model is considered.
3.2 Ground settlement trough
Longitudinal, and transverse settlement troughs are shown 3.4 Internal forces in liner
respectively in Figure 6, and Figure 7. The results correspond to
completion of ring number 16. At this stage, TBM cutter-head is Internal forces in the liner such as bending moment diagrams, and
facing ring number 20 to be installed in future. compressive hoop force diagrams are shown in Figure 9, and Figure
10 respectively. Diagrams show force distribution in the liner for
ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress, WTC2020 and 46th General Assembly Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia 15-21 May 2020

rigid joints, perfect hinge joints, and Janssen joints analysis cases. to the assumptions made on the joint models ranging from rigid
Also, range of moment/force values for each analysis cases are joints (continuous liner) to perfectly hinged joints. This observation
tabulated in Table 2. While distribution of forces may slightly vary, does not square well with Muir Wood formula suggesting using an
however, their maximum and minimum values do not change equivalent bending stiffness of 44% of that of liner for n=6. This
significantly in all three cases. indicates that there may be possibilities of underestimating forces
developed in the liner if designers use approximate formulas such as
Muir Wood as they may underestimate forces in the liner through
unjustified reductions in the equivalent liner rigidity. It should be
remarked that these conclusions are specific to this analysis
scenario, ground condition, and tunnel depth. More analyses and
parametric studies are needed to provide definitive recommendation
on the impact of joints in a segmental lining.

Table 3 Ground deformation


Joint Model Max Crown Max Ground
Figure 9 Bending moment diagrams in continuous liner (left), liner Displacement Settlement
with Janssen joint model (middle), liner with perfect hinge joint (mm) (mm)
(right). Results are reported for ring number 5.
Liner with rigid 25.1 19.1
joints (continuous)
Liner with perfect 27.8 20.8
hinged joints
Liner with Janssen 25.8 19.3
joints

5. REFERENCES
Figure 10 Hoop force diagrams in continuous liner (left), liner with
Janssen joint model (middle), liner with perfect hinge joint (right). Allahverdi, N., Sepehrmanesh, M., and Nasri, V. (2015) "Pile
Results are reported for ring number 5. Foundation and Tunnel Interaction in Mechanized Shield
Tunneling". Proceedings of ITA WTC 2015 Congress,
Croatia, pp133-137.
DIANA FEA BV (2019). DIANA’s User Manual, Release 10.3,
Table 2 Internal Forces in Ring No. 5 Delft, The Netherlands.
Kasper, T., and Meschke, G. (2006). "A Numerical Study of the
Joint Model Min & Max Max & Min Effect of Soil and Grout Material Properties and Cover Depth
Compressive Bending in Shield Tunneling". Computers and Geotechnics, No. 33,
Hoop Force Moment (kN-m) pp. 234-247.
(kN) Lee, K.M., and Ge X.W. (2001) "The Equivalence of a Jointed
Liner with rigid 478, 662 +22.2, -15.0 Shield-driven Tunnel Lining to a Continuous Ring Structure".
joints (continuous) Can. Geotech J., No. 38, pp. 461-483.
Liner with perfect 444, 678 +17.1, -9.8
hinged joints
Liner with Janssen 477, 590 +19.1, -10.3
joints

4. CONCLUSION
This paper discussed critical aspects of finite element modeling of
mechanized shield-driven tunneling to obtain an accurate
assessment of ground-machine-liner interactions. These aspects
include accounting for detailed stage-based simulation of excavation
process, tail-void grouting, and segment/ring joint behavior. All
mentioned aspects were included in the model, and results were
obtained. Ground deformation results are summarized in Table 3 for
three joint models, i.e. rigid, hinge, and Janssen joints.

As far as it concerns forces developed in the liner, and consequently


designing the liner, three different analyses cases were considered
for joint model, i.e. rigid joints, perfect hinge joints, and Janssen
model joints. Based on forces developed in the liner, for all three
analysis cases as summarized in Table 2, it can be concluded that
ground response, and forces developed in the liner are not sensitive