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Nonlinear Three-Dimensional Modeling of

Bentonite Slurry Tunneling



By
M. M. Eid
1
, A. A. Ahmed
2
, H. M. Helmy
3
and S. M. El-Sayed
4

Ain Shams University, Faculty of Engineering

Abstract

The Egyptian tunneling activities have augmented in the last two decades
for several purposes such as construction of subways, sewers and road tunnels.
The preponderance of the Egyptian tunnels are constructed through soft alluvial
soils under high ground water pressures in which tunneling can trigger
substantial ground deformations. The prevailing subsurface conditions limited
the construction methods to full face tunneling machines; otherwise tunneling
cannot be proceeding. The Bentonite Slurry Shields proved to be successful in
many Egyptian tunneling projects.

In the present study, a three-dimensional finite element model is
developed to update the different sophisticated measures employed in the
Bentonite Slurry technique to minimize the ground displacements associated
with tunneling operation. The proposed numerical model is used to evaluate two
case studies of tunnel projects constructed in Cairo namely, Greater Cairo Metro
and the intersection of Al-Azhar Twin Road Tunnels and the CWO sewer at Port
Said Street. The later case study is a typical three-dimensional problem;
otherwise the output will be unrealistic. The results of the numerical modeling
of the two case studies are then compared with the field measurements compiles
during tunneling activities in order to verify the results of the proposed
numerical model.


Keywords: Bentonite Slurry Tunneling; Three-dimensional Analysis; Nonlinear
Finite Element; Gap Parameter; Tailskin Grouting; Gap Element;
Field Measurements.

1
Professor of Structural Engineering and Head of the Geotechnical Division.
2
Associate Professor of Structural Engineering.
3
Assistant Professor of Structural Engineering.
4
Assistant Lecturer of Structural Engineering.

1. Introduction:

Tunnel modeling is an intricate nonlinear three-dimensional problem. The
key sources of nonlinearly in tunneling analysis are illustrated in Fig. (1) and
summarized as following:
The nonlinear soil constitutive behavior, which depends mainly on the
stress path, confining pressure and rate of loading;
The distribution of the marginal yield zones around the tunnel;
The pressurized excavation boundaries and ground support measures;
The radial and axial ground loss and the over-cutting gap;
The tailskin grouting and the hardening of grouting material with time;
The unloading forces developed during ground excavation;
TBM advancement and lining installation;
The mutual interaction between the excavated tunnel and the surrounding
underground pre-erected pipelines and tunnels.

Tunneling analysis, using two-dimensional plane strain or axisymmetric
models, has been considerably employed in research and in design. The
displacement field is approximated in plane strain models by neglecting the non-
radial deformations while the stress and displacement field is approximated into
symmetric fields in axisymmetric models. Ahmed [1] used the incremental non-
linear FEM combined with the Convergent-Confinement approach of lining
analysis to update the ground-lining interaction. Esmail [9] used Rowe and Cake
Gap Parameter technique [15] with some modifications to allow the simulation
of the tunnel construction stages. Little literature is available in which soft
ground tunneling is idealized using three-dimensional models due to the
required high computational cost especially when employing the nonlinear soil
models.

2. Idealization of Problem:

The soil, shield and liner are modeled using three-dimensional hexahedral
elements. The soil nonlinear behavior is identified by variable modulii
dependent on the confining pressure and the stress path. The soil constitutive
relationship is expressed in an incremental form to account for the path-
dependency. Using the incremental form of the constitutive matrix [D
et
], the
tangential element stiffness matrix [K
et
] can be written as [13]:
| | | | | || |

=
element
e et
t
e et
) Volume ( d B D B K
(1)
where the [B
e
] is the element strain-nodal displacement matrix. The loading
modulus (E
t
) and the unloading-reloading modulus (E
ur
) are presented by the
following exponential forms [5]:
( )( )
n
a
3
2
3
3 1 f
a t
p sin 2 cos C 2
sin 1 R
1 Kp E
(

+

= (2)
n
a
3
a ur ur
p
p K E
(

= (3)
where R
f
is the ratio between the ultimate and the failure deviator stresses, p
a
is
the atmospheric pressure, n is the stiffness exponent, K is the loading stiffness
coefficient, K
ur
is unloading-reloading stiffness coefficient,
1
&
3
are the
major and the minor principal stresses and C & are the soil shear parameters.
During the finite element analysis, it is not possible to pre-determine the regions
subjected to loading or unloading in order to conclude whether the loading
modulus or unloading modulus should be used. Since the loading modulus is
lower than the unloading modulus as explained by the Equations (2) and (3), the
use of the loading modulus can lead to numerical divergence when unloading
occurs. Using the unloading-reloading modulus during the first iteration of every
loading step will underestimate the displacement in the first iteration if loading
occurs but the correct modulus will be used in subsequent iterations according to
a parameter called the stress level [6] depending on deviator stress, the shear
parameters and the confining pressure as follows:
4
a
3
3
3 1
p sin cos C
) (
SL

+

=
(4)

The stress level (SL) is calculated for each gauss point and compared to the
maximum value reached during the loading history at the same gauss point
(SL
max
). The modulus (E) depends on the parameter SL as following:
If (
max
SL SL ), loading is taking place and the used modulus E=E
t

If (
max
SL 75 . 0 SL ), unloading is taking place and used modulus E=E
ur

If (
max max
SL 75 . 0 SL SL > > ), neutral loading is taking place and the modulus
E is calculated by interpolation between E and E
ur
as shown in Fig. (2).

The shield-soil interface is modeled using a hyperbolic gap element [4].
The liner-grout-soil interface is modeled by introducing grout elements with
incremental hardening strength parameters and initial hydrostatic pressure equal
to the grouting pressure [8] as shown in Figs (3) and (4); the normal stiffness is
considered a constant of very high value for the contact and of trivial value for
the open gap. The tangential shear stiffness (k
t
) of the gap is defined by:
ns
a
n
2
n
sf
i w i t
p tan
R
1 A k k
|
|
.
|

\
|
(



= (5)

where k
i
is the stiffness coefficient,
w
is the water unit weight
n
is the stress
normal to the interface surface, A
i
is the contact area and R
sf
& n
s
are defined
similarly to the soil hyperbolic model parameters.
2.1. Ground Excavation and Lining Installation Incremental Modeling:
Tunnel excavation is modeled by removing a cluster of ground elements
from the finite element meshing; conversely, lining elements are new elements
that are added to the mesh; this algorithm is equivalent of the Stress Reversal
Approach [1]. The required changes in the mesh are applied to reconstruct the
residual vector {R} resulting from the difference between the applied force and
the straining forces and the tangential stiffness matrix [K
t
]. The residual vector
and the stiffness matrix are calculated at the beginning of each iteration
(Newton-Raphson), i.e. the (i+1)
th
iteration is described by the following
equation:
| | { } { } R U K
t t
1 i
t t
1 i t
t t
i
+
+
+
+
+
=
&
{ } | | { }


=
+ +
=
elements of No.
1 e
element
e
t t
i
T
e
t t
) Volume ( d B F
(6)
where {F} is the nodal forces. The left subscript denotes the iteration process
and the left superscript donates a sequential time index. If the iteration
superscript is zero, the matrix or vector is calculated at the end of the previous
time step. The stress increment can be calculated from the strain {} using the
following integration:
{ } { } { } { } | | { }
{ }
{ }

+ +
+
+ +
+
+
+
+
+ = + =
t t
1 i
t t
i
d D
et
t t
i
t t
1 i
t t
i
t t
1 i
&
(7)
Numerical integration is used to evaluate the integral in the stress calculations.
Employing a predictor-corrector method (Modified Euler scheme) as following:
{ } { } | | { } { } | | | | { } U B D
2
1
D
2
1 t t
1 i e et
t t
i
t t
i
t t
1 i et
t t
i
t t
i
t t
2 / 1 i
&
&
+
+
+ + +
+
+ + +
+
+ = + (8)

then | |
et
t t
2 / 1 i
D
+
+
using the predicated stress { }
+
+
t t
2 / 1 i
. The stress can be calculated
using
{ } { } | | | | { } U B D
t t
1 i e et
t t
2 / 1 i
t t
i
t t
1 i
&
+
+
+
+
+ +
+
+ (9)

2.2. Modeling of Grouting Measures in Tunneling:
Grouting of sandy soils to increase the strength and stiffness of such soils
is a common measure in tunneling projects to minimize the tunneling effect on
adjacent structures. Bell [3] showed that the change in the angle of friction () of
sandy soil caused by grouting is generally insignificant. The effect of grouting
can be recognized as increasing the soil stiffness and cohesion. Tan and Clough
[16] propose a scale of the effect of grouting on sandy soil in tunneling project.
They divided the grouting quality into four distinct categories; namely: weak,
medium, strong and very strong as shown in Table (1). The cohesion parameter
of the grouted soil can be estimated (assuming no change in the frictional angle
of the stabilized soil) using the following equation:
|
.
|

\
|
+
=
2
45 tan 2
q
c
o
un
grouted

(10)
where q
un
is the unconfined compressive strength of grouted soil. The effect of
grouting on the soil stiffness is expressed by the ratio SR, which is defined in
Table (1), as following
K SR K
grouted
=
(11)
where K
grouted
is the strength parameter for grouted soil and K is the strength
parameter of the ungrouted soil.

3. Case Studies:

The model was used to analyze the tunneling status in the Greater Cairo
Metro Project (Line 2-Phase 1A) and Al Ahzar Twin Road Tunnels at the site of
the intersection with Cairo Wastewater Spinal Sewer (CWO). The two projects
are the most giant tunneling activities in Cairo in which the Bentonite Slurry
Technique was used. The analysis was performed using small PC that has a
Pentium II 300 MHz processor with 32 MB RAM.

3.1. The Greater Cairo Metro 2
nd
Line Phase 1A:

The Greater Cairo Metro Second Line is a double deck circular bored
tunnel having an excavated diameter of 9.35 m. Two identical bentonite slurry
shields built by Herrenknecht of Germany were selected to drive the tunnel.
Two test sections, south of El-Khalafawy station (Lot 12) and south of Rod El-
Farag station (Lot 16), were instrumented during the construction [7] and the
results were presented by Hamza Associates [11]. Soil strata at the location of
these Lots are shown in Fig. (5-a) and the geotechnical properties are
summarized in Table (2). The finite element mesh used in the analysis is shown
in Fig. (5-b). The tunneling activities been idealized in 21 incremental steps, the
mesh at the end of the steps is shown in Fig. (5-b). The technical data of the
employed TBM recommended the total ground loss as 0.5%. The measured
insitu ground surface settlements were used to compute the volume of ground
surface settlement trough, which is converted to a volume of ground loss around
the TBM. Hamza Associates [11] reported the total volume of about
0.24%ground loss. The face loss was estimated to be about 0.09%, i.e. the loss
along perimeter of the TBM is about 0.15%. The grouting pressure is assumed
to be 3.25 bar. The face pressure is assumed to be 2.0 bars.

Figs. (6) & (7) demonstrate the surficial deformation field at Lot 12. The
figures show a fair agreement between the predicted surface settlement and the
measured settlement troughs. The maximum settlement is about 11 mm. The
trough extends 25m ahead of the TBM face and 45 m behind the TBM face with
a width of about 18 m. The model predicates some heave beyond the settlement
trough with a maximum value of 1.5 mm. The vertical subsurface deformation
for a point at a depth of 12.5 m is shown in Fig. (8). The monitoring report
described the constant settlement profile above the crown contradicting the well-
known observational formulae [2].

Figs. (9) & (10) show the surficial vertical deformation for Lot 16. The
maximum settlement is about 18 mm. The settlement at the face is 7 mm (i.e.
40% of the maximum settlement). The trough extends to a distance of 25 m
ahead of the tunnel and increases after the passing of the TBM to a distance of
45 m similar to Lot 12. The actual settlement trough is wider than the predicated
one. The settlement trough extends to a distance of 20 meters. The results show
a good agreement between the predicated and measured values.

3.2. Al-Ahzar Twin Road Tunnels - CWO Crossing:

The proposed three-dimensional model is used to analyze the tunneling at
the intersection of Al-Azhar Road Twin Tunnels (excavated diameter 9.35m and
spaced 18.7 m apart) and the CWO sewer (5 m external diameter) at Port Said
Street. The specific crossing is especially important because tunneling is
designed to pass underneath the CWO sewer with a minimum distance of 4 m.
The precautionary measures to minimize the tunneling effect on the existing
CWO sewer comprise reinforcing of the ground underneath the sewer with grout
injection in form of two walls and carrying out heavy instrumentation plan
during the TBM passage [10]. According to the Hamza Associates [12], the
major soil units for zone of the intersection of Al-Azhar and CWO tunnels are as
described in Table (2) and shown in Fig. (11-a). The finite elements mesh used
in the analysis is shown in Fig. (11-b). The assumed radial loss was set to 0.14%
similar to the tunneling conditions in Greater Cairo Metro.

The effect of the construction of Al-Azhar Road Tunnels on the CWO
tunnel for the untreated ground is shown in Fig. (11.b). The vertical settlement,
the compressive stress and the tensile stresses are estimated to be 13.7 mm, 15.6
kg/cm
2
and 11.6 kg/cm
2
respectively. The settlement of the zone far from the
CWO crossing shows a fair agreement with the measured trough during driving
of the north tunnel as shown in Fig. (12). The settlement trough above the CWO
has less maximum values but on the other hands it spreads in a larger distance
than the trough far from the crossing. The maximum value of the settlement
during driving of the north tunnel is about 4.2 mm but increases to about 9 mm
after the south tunnel is completed. Introducing the grouting effect reduces the
internal stresses and the deformation furthermore as shown in Fig. (13). The
compression stresses apparently approaches a limit that cannot be affected by
higher stabilization category other than strong grouting; however, the tensile
stress and the settlement reduced monotonically with increasing the grouting
category but with a declining rate. The maximum settlement, the compressive
stress and the tensile stresses can be reduced to 8.54 mm, 12.8 kg/cm
2
and 6.2
kg/cm
2
respectively for very strong grouting category. It should be noted that at
high grouting categories, the maximum tensile stress is found to occur at the
crown; conversely, at low grouting categories it occurs at the invert. The
grouting measure proved to be successful by reducing the settlement by 38%
and tensile stress by 47%. Compression stress can only be reduced by 22%.

4. Conclusion:

Comparing the results of the proposed numerical three-dimensional
idealization of the Bentonite Slurry Tunneling with the field measurements
compiled during the construction of two major tunnel projects constructed in
Cairo indicated the capability of such sophisticated modeling to develop realistic
pattern of ground subsidence associated with tunneling. Practicing the proposed
numerical model to the Greater Cairo Metro and Al-Azhar tunnels intersection
with CWO tunnel confirmed precious results of the proposed numerical model.
The results implied that, simulating the details of tunneling operation through
the modeling formulation is considered as the basis for optimum idealization.
Adapting the main factors affecting the pressurized Bentonite Slurry Tunneling
such as; unloading forces due to excavation, ground nonlinearly, interface
condition, engineering properties of shield, rate of advance, machine
overcutting, face pressure, yielding zones and the tail grouting is badly needed
for realistic updating of the ground-tunneling interaction.

Furthermore, the three-dimensional tunneling analysis is considered as the
entirely capable arrangement to simulate very sophisticated problems such as the
intersection of different tunnels that cannot be preceded by means of two-
dimensional analysis or empirical approach superposition. Consequently, the
deformations and the internal forces developed in underground pipelines and
sewers due to tunneling can be estimated. The results of the intersection of
AlAzhar Road Tunnels and CWO show that grouting proved to be a salutary
process to control the deformation and the internal forces (especially tensile
stresses) developed in underground structures due to tunneling.

5. Reference
1. Ahmed, A. A., 1991, Interaction of Tunnel Lining and Ground, Ph. D.
Thesis, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
2. Attwell, P. B. and Yeates, J., 1984, Tunneling in Soil Ground;
Movements and Their Effects on Structures, Blackie and Son Ltd.,
Glasgow, UK.
3. Bell, F. G., 1993, Engineering Treatment of Soils, E & FN SPON,
London, UK.
4. Dessouki, A. K., 1985, Stability of Soil-Steel Structures, Ph. D. Thesis,
University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
5. Duncan, J. M. and Chang, C. Y., 1970, Nonlinear Analysis of Stresses
and Strains in Soils, Journal of Soil Mech. And Found. Div., ASCE, Vol.
96, No. SM5.
6. Duncan, J. M., Seed, R. B., Wong, K. S. and Ozawa, Y., 1984,
FEADAM84: A Computer Program for Finite Element Analysis of
Dams, Virginia Polytechnic Inst. And State Univ., Dept. of Civil
Engineering, USA.
7. El-Nahhas, F. M., 1999, Soft Ground Tunnelling In Egypt: Geotechnical
Challenges and Expectations, Tunnelling and Underground Space
Technology, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 245-256.
8. El-Sayed, S. M., Elasto-plastic Three Dimensional Analysis of Shielded
Tunnels, with Special Application on Greater Cairo Metro, Ph. D.
Thesis, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt, (In Progress).
9. Esmail, K. A., 1997, Numerical Modeling of Deformation around Closed
Face Tunneling, Ph. D. Thesis, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
10. Ezzeldine, O. Y., 1999 Tunneling at the CWO Crossing, Results of
Montoring, El Azhar Road Tunnels Project, Detailed Design, NAT,
Egypt.
11. Hamza Associate, 1995, Greater Cairo Metro: Phase (2) Tunnel
Monitoring, Comprehensive Report, NAT, Egypt.
12. Hamza Associates, 1998, Al Azhar Road Tunnel; Port Said, Al Azhar &
El Mosky Street, Geotechnical Report, NAT, Egypt.
13. Owen, D. R. and Hinton, E. H., 1980, Finite Element in Plasticity:
Theory and Application, Pineridge Press Ltd., Swansea, UK.
14. Richards, D. P., Ramond, P. and Herrenkenecht, M., 1997, Slurry Shield
Tunnels on the Cairo Metro, General Report, RETC, Las Vegas, USA.
15. Rowe, R. K., Lo, K. Y. and Kack, G. J., 1983, A Method of Estimating
Surface Settlement above Tunnels Constructed in Soft Grounds, Can.
Geotech. J., Vol. 20, pp. 11-22.
16. Tan, D. Y. and Clough G. W., 1980, Ground Control for Shallow
Tunnels by Soil Grouting, J. of Geotech. Eng., ASCE, Vol. 106, No.
GT9, pp. 1037-1057.



.




.


Table (1) Grouting effect on the sandy soil parameters for tunneling projects [16]
Unconfined compressive strength for
different relative density (t/m
2
) Grouting designation
Loose Medium Dense
Ratio of stiffness of
grouted to ungrouted soil
(SR)
Weak
Medium
Strong
Very Strong
0.87
2.18
4.35
6.96
1.81
4.57
9.14
14.6
3.84
9.57
19.1
30.6
1.50
2.25
3.50
5.00

Table (2) Soil properties for Greater Cairo Metro 2
nd
Line-Phase 1A (Lot 12 and Lot 16)
Stratum FILL CLAY SILT Silty SAND Dense SAND
15 0 30 37
C (kg/cm
2
) 0 0.8 0 0
(t/m
3
) 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.0
k
o
1.0 0.74 0.50 0.40
K 150 225 325 600
n 0.6 0.55 0.5 0.5
R
f
0.70 0.75 0.8 0.8
Poissons ratio 0.4 0.4 0.35 0.3

Table (3) Soil properties for the CWO-Al Azhar Tunnels Crossing
Stratum FILL CLAY SILT Silty SAND Dense SAND Gravelly SAND
23 0 30 35 41
C (kg/cm
2
) 0.2 1.0 0 0 0
(t/m
3
) 1.65 1.8 1.90 1.95 2.0
k
o
1.00 0.74 0.50 0.43 0.35
K 150 200 325 475 750
N 0.6 0.55 0.5 0.5 0.5
R
f
0.73 0.75 0.8 0.8 0.8
Poissons ratio 0.4 0.4 0.35 0.3 0.3




Figure (1) Elements of nonlinearity in tunnel modeling

Underground
utilities
Yielded zone
Launch
Shaft













Figure (2) Effect of stress path on soil stiffness [6].






































Figure (3) Interface modeling
Overcut
Shield elements
Gap elements
Soil elements
(a) Shield/soil interface modeling
Liner elements
Soil elements
Grouting elements (initially under
hydrostatic grouting pressure)
(b) Liner/grouting/soil interface modeling
Tail gap
Shield/Liner
Enfolding ground
SL
max
0.75 SL
max

E
t

E
ur

SL
E

3

E
t

E
ur







Figure (4) The interface element





Figure (5) Greater Cairo Metro Phase Line 2- Phase 1A (a) Subsurface Conditions
(b) initial mesh for Lot 16 (c) the mesh after 21 increments

(b) (c)
Local axes and
convergent gap
Normal
stiffness
Tangential
stiffness
(a)
17.8




Figure (6) Surficial longitudinal settlement trough at Lot 12





Figure (7) Surficial cross settlement trough at Lot 12








Figure (8) Subsurface longitudinal settlement trough at depth of 12.5 m (Lot 12)






Figure (9) Surficial longitudinal settlement trough at Lot 16




Figure (10) Surficial cross settlement trough at Lot 16





Figure (11) CWO- Al Azhar Tunnels intersection: (a) subsurface conditions (b) the mesh
(c) the deformed shape of the CWO sewer for untreated grounds (1000:1)
(b)
(c)
(a)




Figure (12) Surficial settlement trough of the untreated ground





U
n
g
r
o
u
t
e
d
W
e
a
k
Medium
Strong
V. strong
Grouting Category
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
Stress (kg/sq. cm)
Compression stress Tensile stress


(a)
U
n
g
r
o
u
t
e
d
W
e
a
k
M
e
d
iu
m
S
t
r
o
n
g
V
.

s
t
r
o
n
g
Grouting Category
0
2
4
6
8
10
12
14
16
S
e
t
t
l
e
m
e
n
t

(
m
m
)


(b)

Figure (13) Effect of grouting on the CWO sewer
(a) the maximum internal stresses (b) the maximum settlement