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This report is a comparison of a centrifuge test on a model of a tunnel in the vicinity of a shallow foundation, with the plasticity solution which has been calculated for two mechanism prior to the physical modelling experiment.

Experimental Set-Up and Procedure

The physical modelling of the tunnel and foundation was undertaken on the City University London Geotechnical centrifuge. The experiment was carried out at 160g on the 1.8m radium swinging arm of the centrifuge. The model was made in a strongbox that had the dimensions of 550mm in length, 200mm in width and 210mm in depth on the interior. Friction between the strongbox and the model itself was reduced by the use of lubricating oil. The soil which was used for the experiment was Kaolin clay which has a unit weight of 17.5kN/m3. The lubricated box was already prepared with the clay which was pre-stressed with a one-dimensional vertical compressive stress of 350kPa. Group A was provided with the dimensions L = 12.5mm and D = 6.25mm, this dimension was then cut out of the soil according to figure.1.

Figure 1 - Model geometry


The tunnel was cut using a cylindrical cutter of diameter 50mm; the slot for the foundation was also measured and formed using a chisel. The careful placement of the strip foundation and the lining of the tunnel using a rubber membrane that can apply a compressive stress to the tunnel walls followed this. Lubrication was then applied to front face of the model prior to the placement of an acetate sheet containing rubber beads. These rubber beads (targets) were then pushed into the model face at points that were later tracked by the digital image analysis software. The acetate is then removed and a strong glass screen is fixed to the front of the strongbox. Figure.2 shows the strongbox within which sits the model with the tunnel, foundation and the targets. This was Paul Kirupaharan Page 1

followed by the calibration of pressure transducer (channel 1) and the LVDTs (channel 10-18) which were then fixed to the tunnel and the top of the strongbox respectively. The LVDTs were placed at measured distances from the centre line of the tunnels vertical centre line as shown in figure.3

LVDT s Foundation Screen



Figure 2 - Strongbox with model ready for the centrifuge

Figure 3 - Distances of LVDTs from tunnel centre line (mm)

Channel 18

Channel 17

Channel 16

Channel 15 Channel 14

Channel 13

Channel 1

Channel 12

Channel 11

Channel 10

Paul Kirupaharan

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The applied gravity by the centrifuge due to the angular velocity was then calculated using formula 1.0, where N is the number of gravities, is the angular velocity and Re is the effective radius (R h). (1.0) The corresponding tunnel pressure to prevent the tunnel from collapse during the initial acceleration of the centrifuge was then calculated using formula 2.0, where is the unit weight of the soil, z is the distance from the surface of the soil and N is the number of gravities applied. (2.0) These calculations led to table.1 2.4 7.7 10.9 13.3 15.4 17.2 18.8 20.4 21.8 23.1 24.3 25.5 26.7 27.7 28.8 29.8 30.8 N (g) 1 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160
Table 1

r (kPa) 1.31 13.1 26.3 39.4 52.5 65.6 78.8 91.9 105 118.1 131 144.4 157.5 170.6 183.8 196.9 210

When the centrifuge was accelerated towards 30.8 rad/s (160g) the corresponding tunnel pressure was applied to correspond to the in situ vertical stress at the tunnel axis level.

Experimental Results
When 160g was reached with an internal pressure of 210kPa the model was in a stable, rest state. From this point, the velocity of the centrifuge was kept at a constant whilst the tunnel pressure was decreased until failure.

Ground settlements and soil failure

Ground settlement due to the decrease in tunnel pressure can be seen by using the data obtained from the transducers. The transducers show a change in voltage as settlement occurs which can be converted into a vertical distance measurement via the use of a calibration constant. Paul Kirupaharan Page 3

Figure.5 is a graph that shows the ground profile from all the LVDT displacement transducers. The foundation is located below the LVDT Channel 13 and spans most of the distance towards the centre line of the tunnel. The graph shows how each transducer measured displacement as the tunnel pressure was decreased until failure. As seen in figure.5 the largest displacement occurs between the centre line of the tunnel (Channel 14) and the outer edge of the foundation (Channel 13). When compared to photo in figure.4 it can be seen that the failure occurred mainly in the soil below the foundation in the direction of the tunnel, the remainder of the failure occurs in the segment of soil adjacent to the segment below the foundation, which is also above the tunnel. Figure.6 is a graph that shows the targets, which were tracked by the digital image analysis software as settlement occurred, from the beginning of the test until a significant amount of displacement occurred, when the target was no longer traceable. It can be clearly seen that the settlement of all the targets occurred toward the tunnel itself. Figure.7 shows the general direction of the settlement of each line using a linear trend line, these lines show that all the targets are clearly moving towards the tunnel. This diagram also shows that there are two clear segments as it shows one set of targets move in one direction and another set of targets moving in another direction.

Figure 4 - Model after failure

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Vertical Displacement of Transducers at 25kPa interval

200 150 100 Horizontal distance from tunnel center (mm) 0 50 0 -50 -0.5 -100 -150 -200

Channel 10

Displacement in vertical direction (mm)

Figure 5 - Ground settlement with decreasing tunnel pressure

Paul Kirupaharan

Channel 18

Channel 11


Channel 17


210 kPa 200 kPa 150 kPa 125 kPa 100 kPa 75 kPa 58 kPa

Channel 16 Channel 14 Channel 15

Channel 12


Channel 13





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Target Settlements
120 100 Y - Coordinate (mm) 80 60 40 20 0 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 X - Coordinate (mm) 125 114 112 110 180 158 199 217 230 246 273

Figure 4 - Target Settlements

Target Settlements
120 100 Y - Coordinate (mm) 80 60 40 20 0 130 140 150 160 170 180 190 200 210 X - Coordinate (mm)

125 114 112 110 180 158 199 217 230 246 273 Linear (125) Linear (114) Linear (112) Linear (110) Linear (180) Linear (158) Linear (199) Linear (217) Linear (230) Linear (246) Linear (273)

Figure 5 - Target settlement with general direction of target movement

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The following photos show how the soil changed as the tunnel pressure decreased. When looking at EPOCH 6830, which has a tunnel pressure of 210kPa, we can see that the surface is horizontal and the only section protruding above the surface being the strip foundation. EPOCH 7005 shows the ground on the left of the foundation has begun to settle, the foundation has also settled. EPOCH 7006 shows that the foundation has settled to the level of the ground on the right of the foundation and the ground on the left has settled further. EPOCH 7007 and 7008 both, show further settlement of the foundation and the ground on the left of it, as well as slight deformation on the right of the tunnel. EPOCH 7009 shows complete failure of the tunnel, the foundation has settled a considerable amount and a failure mechanism is clearly visible in two segments, one below the foundation and another to the left. EPOCH 7010 and 7011 both show further failure of the tunnel, the segment of soil below the foundation has clearly collapsed into and filled the majority of the tunnel. EPOCH 6830 EPOCH 7005 EPOCH 7006

EPOCH 7007

EPOCH 7008

EPOCH 7009

EPOCH 7010

EPOCH 7011

Figure 8 From top left to bottom right: EPOCH 6830, EPOCH 7005, EPOCH 7006, EPOCH 7007, EPOCH 7008, EPOCH 7009, EPOCH 7010, EPOCH 7011

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From the photos in figure.8, we can clearly see that the failing mechanism consists of two segments. This is more clearly shown in figure.9 and 10, this shows the two segments prior to any tunnel pressure reduction and after failure has occurred respectively.

Segment 1 Segment 2

Figure 9 Failure mechanism prior to collapse

Segment 2 Segment 1

Figure 10 Failure mechanism post collapse

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Figure 11 Failure mechanisms

Figure.11 shows certain mechanisms that were studied using the plasticity solution. The first mechanism studied is in red, it consists of two segments, and the upper bound solution was calculated to show that collapse would occur at a tunnel pressure of 106.4kPa. The second mechanism is shown in black and consists of a single segment. The plasticity solution was also used on this mechanism and it showed that collapse would occur at 89.9kPa. This means that the first mechanism is the better upper bound solution and 106.4kPa will be used as our result for the plasticity solution. When comparing this to the centrifuge result, which showed complete failure at approximately 59.1kPa, we can see that the upper bound solution is much higher than the physical value obtained from the centrifuge. This could be because the upper bound solution is a safe solution therefore the upper bound value will be much higher than required to ensure that failure does not occur. Another possible explanation is that the mechanism shown in the centrifuge experiment is considerably different to the mechanism analysed using the upper bound solution. The mechanism from the centrifuge can be seen on figure.11 as the green segments, this mechanism has a greater impact on surface settlement compared to the settlement shown in mechanism 1 and 2 from the plasticity solution. Although the tunnel failed at a pressure of 59.1kPa, it can be noted from the data retrieved from the centrifuge that settlement of the ground began a significant amount of time prior to the failure itself. Considering an allowable settlement to be 25mm for an office building resting upon shallow foundation [2], the allowable displacement in the centrifuge model is calculated to be 0.15625mm. This displacement is reached very early in the experiment when the tunnel pressure is reduced from Paul Kirupaharan Page 9

210.5kPa to 208.1kPa. The LVDT located directly on the centre line of the tunnel (Channel 14) shows this settlement. This was followed by unallowable settlements occurring at LVDT channels 18, 17 and 15 at tunnel pressures of 207.4kPa, 207.8kPa and 208.3kPa respectively. Unallowable settlements occurred across all the LVDTs at a tunnel pressure 203.3kPa. This corresponds with figure.10 where settlement is shown occur greatest on the left of the foundation and above the tunnel. Looking at the settlement data from the LVDT channel 14 (at the centre line of the tunnel) it can be seen that settlement occurs gradually to commence, at a tunnel pressure of 90.8kPa it can be seen that a slip occurs and noticeably larger settlement occurs but this is not complete failure as smaller, gradual settlements take place thereafter. Four slips can be observed prior to the complete failure of the tunnel.

Tunnel construction in vicinity of loaded foundations

Commonly tunnels are built through urban areas where foundations are to be found near the construction. It can be seen from figure.5 settlement occurs in both the horizontal and the vertical directions, therefore if a pile foundation is located in the soil nearby a construction of a tunnel, certain forces would be applied to the existing piles. Studies have shown that a bending moment is applied to the piles and this is greatest at the point directly horizontal to the centre line of the tunnel. This study also shows that the axial load applied on the pile increases with depth, however this also reaches a maximum at the point directly horizontal to the tunnel centre line, and there after decreases with depth [3].

Sources of error and improvements

The equipment used was old and better hardware and software could be implemented to obtain data that are more accurate. The pressure of the tunnel was increased and decreased manually; an automatic system can be made to remove lag and human error to alter the tunnel pressure automatically. The centrifuge test was subjected to imperfection in the soil, such as the error in the geometry when the model was made. Better equipment could have been used to measure the distances more accurately. The digital image analysis software lost track of the targets when major settlements occurred, better software and equipment could have led to a better trace of the targets. Using a larger model so that more targets can be placed around points of interest to get more accurate data of settlements.

The centrifuge data shows a physical representation of a scenario where a tunnel collapses near a shallow foundation. This data has been compared to the upper bound solution. The comparison shows that the upper bound solution gives a value that is much greater than that modelled by the centrifuge, therefore confirming that the upper bound solution is one that is safe.

Paul Kirupaharan

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