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Supot Teachavorasinskun

Associate Professor

Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn

University, Phayathai Rd., Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand

e-mail: tsupot@chula.ac.th

Tanan Chub-Uppakarn

Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalngkorn

University, Phayathai Rd., Pathumwan, Bangkok, Thailand

e-mail: tanan2284@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

A simple experiment has been conducted to explore the load carrying capacity of a small

model segmental tunnel lining. Scaled segmental tunnel ( - 15 cm) was made from PVC

having nominal thickness of 8.5 mm. A few joint orientations (variation of joint number and

stiffness) were constructed and tested to verify its load carrying capacity. Joint stiffness was

first obtained from a series simple beam support tests. It was found that 4-joint segmental

tunnel can react like a full liner as recognized in the literature. When the number of joints

increased, the load carrying capacity was greatly dependent on the values of joint stiffness.

Namely, the weaker the joint is, the smaller is the bending moment that can be transferred

through. In general design practice, a specific value of moment reduction factor is usually

selected either using the empirical relation or picking up a value given in the design codes.

However, there is no practical consideration for variation in joint stiffness. The present paper

proposes that the bending moment reduction factor should be determined from the simple

beam support test carrying out using the equivalent liner and joint materials and joint

characteristics. Once the bending moment reduction factor is determined, the detail designs of

the liner can then proceed.

KEYWORDS:

INTRODUCTION

The multi-segmental liner has been widely adopted for construction of underground tunnels in

soft ground for decades. Nevertheless, its complex soil-structure behavior has not been well

understood and being overlooked. In practice, a simple design approach based on empirical

formulae or those given in the design codes is usually adopted. Alternatively, various closed form

elastic solutions which taking into account of liner and soil stiffness are also available for usages.

Peck (1969) proposed to use the flexibility ratio; a combined parameter between liner stiffness

and dimension and surrounded soil stiffness, in design. The flexibility ratio can be expressed as

(Einstein, 1979);

Es

F=

(1 + s )

6EL I L

(1)

(1 L2 ) R 3

Einstein (1979) derived a series of elastic solutions expressing the relations among liner stresses

and liner and soil stiffness. Nevertheless the influence of segmental joint was not considered in

his study. Wood (1975) suggested that the segmental joint behaved like a set of partial hinges in

lining structure. Therefore, the effective moment of inertia of the overall lining, Ie, should be

reduced to take into account of joint characteristics and can be written as;

2

4

Ie = I j + I

N

(2)

Where I and Ij are the moment of inertia of the intact liner and segmental joint and N is the

number of joints in the liner. The Japanese Society of Civil Engineering (Koyama, 2003)

descriptively recommends reducing the rigidity of the continuous liner structure by 20 40%.

Although the moment transferred due to segment staggering is well documented, there is no

rationale consideration in selection of the bending moment reduction factor stated in the code.

Most of the Japanese tunneling projects required a full scale prototype test to verify the bending

moment reduction factor. Lee and Ge (2001) proposed an analytical correlation for moment

reduction factor based on the maximum horizontal displacement of a continuous ring as:

1

:

1+ b

b=

3EI

RK

cos cos 2

i

(3)

i =1

Where is the bending moment reduction factor, K is the flexural stiffness of the joint defined

as the bending moment per unit length required to develop a unit rotation along a joint of the

assembled segments, i is the angle measured from crown of the tunnel to the i-th joint (in the

range of 0-90) and m is the number of joints (0 i 90). Based on a series of analytical

results, Lee and Ge (2001) provided a graphical relation between the effective segmental liner

stiffness, bending moment reduction factor and subsoil reaction. Due to difficulty in

determination of effective stiffness of segmental liner; i.e. required a full-scale prototype test, in

the present study, a simpler methodology to defy joint stiffness and bending moment reduction

factor were proposed. In this paper, the results obtained from a small scaled PVC segmental ring

were presented together with the methodology for determination of joint stiffness.

Figure 1: Simple and model tests adopted in the present study

Table 1: Details of specimen and joints adopted in the simple support test

Specimen

Intact

Joint 1

Joint 2

Joint 3

Joint details

PVC strip)

Jointed by 8.5mm thick

300 mm long PVC sheet

Jointed by 8.5mm thick

25 mm long PVC sheet

Jointed by 3.0 mm thick

25 mm long PVC sheet

Effective

flexural

stiffness (N/m2)

Moment

reduction

factor ()

Equivalent

angular joint

stiffness

(N-radian)

15.01

1.00

14.89

0.99

6,000

10.86

0.72

5,000

8.82

0.41

500

MODEL TESTING

Model liner made of 8.5 mm thick PVC tube with the inner diameter of 15 cm was tested in the

laboratory. The adopted PVC has the yield strength (fy) and Youngs modulus (E) of 48 MPa and

2,400 MPa, respectively. Tests can generally be divided into three groups as;

(a) Simple support test (Figure 1(a)): This test was carried out in order to obtain the

fundamental flexural stiffness of the jointed PVC strip. The continuous and jointed PVC

strips were tested. Detail dimension of specimens are summarized in Table 1.

(b) Segmental joint test (Figure 1(b)): The half circled jointed PVC was tested in order to

simulate the routine segment join test. Result of this test was used to calibrate the

moment reduction factor and equivalent joint stiffness obtained from test (a).

(c) Full jointed ring test (Figure 1(c)): The whole PVC ring ( -15 cm) was loaded as shown

in Figure 1.

As summarized in Table 1, when jointed PVC strips were load under a simple support condition,

their flexural stiffness was greatly dependent on the stiffness of the jointed section. In the jointed

specimen, strips of PVC were adjoined by small PVC sheet as described in Table 1 (as Joint 1,

Joint 2 and Joint 3). The flexural stiffness clearly reduces as the thinner (weaker) joint is used.

Bending moment reduction factor can be as small as 0.4 for the weakest joint (Joint 3) and almost

1 for the strongest joint (Joint 1). A series of FEM analysis were conducted to simulate these test

results by using a set of rotational springs to represent the joints. The best fit values of the

rotation springs; i.e., angular joint stiffness, for each type of joint were trial from the analyses as

summarized in Table 1.

Figure 2 compares the vertical load and displacement obtained from the segmental joint tests (half

ring test) to the FEM analytical results. In the FEM analysis, joint was represented by a set of

rotational springs, whose values were derived from the simple support tests (Table 1). It should

be noted that a simple linear elastic model was used to represent the material behavior in the FEM

analysis. The angular joint stiffness obtained from the simple support test can fairly well fit the

test results of the segmental joint test. Figure 3 shows the relationship between the bending

moment at crown and the applied vertical load obtained from the segmental joint test. The intact

specimen (non-joint) can carry higher bending moment than those of the jointed ones. The

bending moment reduction factors vary between 0.53 and 0.93 for Joint 3 and Joint 1, which is

very similar to those obtained from the simple support test (PVC strip).

0.20

Numerical result

Angular stiffness= 6000 N/rad

0.18

0.16

0.14

0.12

0.10

0.08

Joint 1

0.06

0.04

0.02

0.00

0

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

8000

9000

10000

Figure 2: Comparison between the test result and linear FEM analysis

of a segmental joint test (Joint 1, Angular stiffness = 6,000 N-cm)

1600

1400

100%

93%

Non-joint

Joint 1

1200

75%

1000

800

53%

600

Joint 3

400

Joint 2

200

0

0

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

Figure 3: Bending moment carrying capacity from the segmental joint tests

The result implies that a simple support strip test could be used to substitute the routine segmental

joint test which is a basic requirement for most tunneling project. The simplicity of the simple

support test may enable and encourage engineer/designer to conduct a preliminary test to explore

his/her designed joint characteristics. Once joint stiffness can be defined; i.e., in term of bending

moment reduction factor, the segment liner can be properly designed according to assumed joint

behavior.

Figure 4 shows the typical test results obtained from the full ring test. In the present

study, three types of tested rings were used; namely, the intact ring, 4-segment ring and

6-segment ring. Each category was consisted of another three types of jointed specimen.

In Figure 4, the bending moment capacity of the 4- and 6- segment rings jointed by Joint

2 are plotted together with that of the intact ring case. It can be seen that the 4-segment

ring exhibits the stiffest flexural behavior. This is observed for all other tested cases.

Summary of the full ring test is given in Figure 5 where the bending moment reduction

factors are plotted against types of segmental joints (expressed in term of the angular

joint stiffness). The 4-segment ring always expresses stiffer bending moment carrying

capacity than the intact ring and 6-segment joint cases. However, when joint becomes

stiffer, the influence of joint type is diminished and the moment reduction factor

approaches 1. Wood (1975) suggested as expressed in Equation (2) that the 4-segment

tunnel liner can exhibit as stiff as the intact liner, as a consequence, the test result should

not be considered as an erroneous. It should also be noted that Equation (2) suggests a

moment reduction factor of (4 / 6) 2 = 0.44 for a 6-segment ring. This is equivalent to the

value obtained from the ring with weak segmental joint. As also shown in Figure 5, the

bending moment reduction factor derived from a simple beam support test can well

represent that obtained from the segmental joint and full ring tests.

CONCLUSIONS

The results obtained from the present study suggest that segmental joint behavior should

be defined before completing the details design of the tunnel liner. This is because the

selection of the bending moment reduction factor is greatly dependent on the strength of

the segmental joint. It is proposed from the present study that a simple beam support test

using similar joint configuration can be very useful in the preliminary design stage. Its

result can be effectively used to determine the moment reduction factor used in the actual

tunnel liner design.

7

Vertical load (N)

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

(Joint 2)

-1000

-2000

-3000

-4000

(Joint 2)

-5000

Joint type : Join 2 (Table 1)

-6000

-7000

Figure 4: Typical test results obtained from full ring test (Joint type: Joint 2)

1.4

1.2

Non joint

Full ring : 6-segment ring

0.8

0.6

Segmental joint test

0.4

0.2

0

0

1000

2000

3000

4000

5000

6000

7000

Figure 5: Comparison of the moment reduction factor obtained from (a) full ring

test, segmental joint test and (c) simple support test

REFERENCES

1. Einstein, H. (1979) Simplified analysis for tunnel supports, Journal of Geotechnical

Engineering, 105, GT4, 499-518.

2. Koyama, Y. (2003) Present status and technology of shield tunneling method in

Japan, Tunneling and Underground Space Technology, 18, 145-159.

3. Lee, K. M. and X. W. Ge (2001) The equivalent of the jointed shield driven tunnel

lining to a continuous ring structure, Canadian Geotechnical Journal 38(3), 461-483

4. Peck, R. B. (1969) Deep excavations and tunneling in soft ground, Proc. 7th

Int. Conf. on Soil Mech. and Found. Engrg., Mexico, 1, 225-290.

5. Wood, A. M. (1975) The circular tunnel in elastic ground, Geotechnique,

25(1), 115-127.

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