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Longitudinal Deformation Profile of a tunnel driven within a Burger rock mass

R Rahmnannejad1, P Yiouta-Mitra2, AI Sofianos2

1-Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Iran, e: r_rahmannejad@hotmail.com
2-Tunnelling Laboratory, National Technical University,

Athens, Greece, e: antipaxos@metal.ntua.gr;



1 Background
The Longitudinal Deformation Profile (LDP) is the graphical representation of the radial
displacement that occurs along the axis of an unsupported cylindrical excavation - for sections
located ahead of and behind the face. The LDP is an important component of the ConvergenceConfinement method. It provides insight into how quickly the support begins to interact with the
rock-mass behind the face of the tunnel. This interaction is closely related to the advance of the
tunnel face and the time-dependent response of the surrounding rock mass involving creep,
weathering, consolidation and similar phenomena. Numerous researchers, such as Panet and
Guenot (1982), Panet (1993, 1995), Chern et al. (1998), Hoek (1999), Unlu and Gercek (2003),
Vlachopoulos and Diederichs (2009) have suggested elastic or elasto-plastic relations for the
LDP. It is generally assumed to be a sigmoid curve independent of the sequence and speed of
In order to describe the time-dependent deformation due to creep in tunnels, various
approaches have been established based on analytical, empirical and numerical methods. An
empirical function based on the Kelvin-Voigt model was proposed by Sulem et al (1987). Since

this model would not be able to describe the secondary region of the creep curve, Fahimifar et al
(2010) proposed a formulation based on a Burgers body. Shalabi (2005) computed the LDP for
the heavily sheared and faulted zones of the Red Pine shale for the Stillwater tunnel in Utah,
USA. To this purpose, he used power and hyperbolic law creep models and the numerical code
Abaqus. He concluded that the effect of the tunnel face advance on the crown displacement
extends to a distance of about 2 tunnel diameters behind the tunnel face and 1.5 tunnel diameters
ahead of the face.

2 Current Research
The present study concerns the numerical simulation, by means of the finite difference code
FLAC 3D, to calculate the LDP curve for a Burger visco-elastic rock mass model (VEB). A
series of numerical experiments have been performed for an axisymmetric model with
dimensions 253320 m of a circular tunnel with 3m radius, driven in a VEB rock mass for a
distance of 15 m. Specific model constants of rock mass i.e. shear modulus of Maxwell and
Kelvin(Gm,Gk), viscosity of Maxwell and Kelvin constants (m, k) and bulk modulus (k) were
parameterized in order to simulate different time-dependent situations of rock mass.
Based on a detailed literature review, the ratio of Gm/Gk is selected in the range of 0.1-1 and
the ratio of m/k in the range of 1-100. The numerical experiments are solved for a period of
time equal to 1 year. The histories of displacement along the tunnel axis at the crown are
extracted as a function of the elapsed time for the elastic and creep solutions. The resulting LDPs
are then plotted and compared to the relations proposed by the previously mentioned researchers.

3 Discussion and Conclusions

The numerical experiments are in good agreement with the expected behavior. More specifically,
the face effect is obvious and causes a different trend of displacements in front of and behind the
tunnel face. The extends of these zones are in agreement with elastic behavior, i.e. one diameter
in front of face and 1.5 to 2 diameters behind it.
An apparent differentiation from the elastic solution was caused by the growing
displacements with the increase of time. The deformation properties of the rock mass, the insitu
stresses and tunnel radius can affect the magnitude of the elastic and visco-elastic displacements
occurring around the tunnel. It is necessary therefore to normalize the radial displacements with
respect to the final elastic radial displacements occurring far away from the face ur. Thus, by
plotting the LDP on dimensionless axes it has been observed that the VEB model shows good
agreement with several elastic solutions, especially the one proposed by Panet (1995).