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Three-dimensional Structural Analyses of the Shield-Driven "Green Heart" Tunnel of the High-Speed Line South

C. B. M. Blom, E. J. van der Horst and P. S. Jovanovic

Abstract --The tunnel lining generates a significant part of the bore tunnel project costs. This tunnel structure is one of the most important components of the whole tunneling process. The tunnel structure has

to fulfill all necessary functional requirements during its lifetime. Because of this it is essential for engineers first to understand the realistic tunnel-lining behaviour and then to design a tunnel structure in a proper way. The design of the lining structure is actually quite simple because of the wide range easy-to-use models now available. In contrast, predicting realistic tunnel-lining behavior is very difficult. The available numerical models for a segmented concrete lining cannot predict realistic structure behavior at all stages of excavation and during the tunnel lifetime. Conventional models ignore the influences of assembling processes, imperfections of segments, type ofjoints and variation in stress distributions in the concrete sections. This paper deals with three-dimensional finite element analyses of the tunnel structure, observations during the construction phase and in-situ measurements on the Second Heinenoord Tunnel (Bakker 1999) applied on the structural design of the shield-driven "Green Heart" Tunnel of the High Speed Line-South in the


© 1999Elsevier Science Ltd.All rights reserved.

1.0 Introduction

T he design of any tunnel structure has to fulfill some

basic requirements concerning structure stability,

durability, watertightness and reliability, low costs

and low-risk profile. To achieve these goals it is necessary that engineers have an opportunity to predict unwanted effects. Although it is difficult to translate the reality of tunnel lining behaviour into a mechanical mathematical engineering model, it is absolutely essential that this be done. In most cases, conventional modelling ignores the influ- ences of segment and assembling imperfections, the con- struction method, type of joint material, jack forces, non- linear effects, ground freezing, grouting, etc. As a result of these effects, the three-dimensional stress distribution in concrete segments develops with corresponding unwanted deformations. Furthermore, this non-uniform stress distri- bution, with stress peaks and totally unexpected stress paths in the segments, are the reason for the appearance of damages and cracks, which lead to a decrease in structural durability and an increase in maintenance costs, and thereby a higher risk profile.

Present address: Ir. C. B. M. Blom,Ir. E. J. van der Horst, and Ir. P. S. Jovanovic, Project Organization High-Speed Line South, Bore Tunnel "Groene Hart" Project Office , Postbus 20000, 3502 LA, Utrecht. All authors are on loan to this project from Holland Railconsult.


~n~elli~ and UndergroundSpaceTechnology,Vol. 14, No. 2, pp. 217-224, 1999

0886-7798/99/$- see front matter © 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rightB reserved.



Most ofthe conventional structuralmodels assume plane- strainconditionsforthe liningand the ground. The stiffness of the lining is considered a constant value. Complete or restrained structuralhinges are sometimes considered,and the active soil pressures on the lining are assumed to be equal to the primary stresses in undisturbed ground. Fur- thermore, between theliningand ground existsabond, both for radial and tangential deformations, which results in reaction stressesin the ground. Material propertiesand the behaviour ofthe soiland liningare generally assumed to be elastic.Grout pressure and grout hardening, as well as the type of joints and packing material, are not taken into account when modelling.

2.0 Necessity of Three-dimensional Analyses

In comparson with conventional models, three-dimen- sional finite element analyses of a tunnel structure, com- bined with observations during the construction phase and in-situ measurements, show totally different stress distri- butions in concrete lining sections. With three-dimensional models it is possible to predict the influences ofthe assembly process and imperfections ofsegments on lining behaviour, as well as the influence ofjoint type with various packing materials. Structure behaviour concerning strength and stability has been analysed applying different sorts of available methods, e.g. analytical, empirical and numerical. These methods should fulfill necessary modelling requirements. The models should be easy to use and should include all


Cv =






O'B =







h =


Ov e"












Figure 1. Conventional models of the bedded beam type.

significant data related to the geometry, loads and ground- structure interaction. The wide range of available struc- tural design models may be categorised as follows:

• models based on subgrade reaction (conventional models): continuum models, bedded beam models (see Fig. 1).

• models based on relative stiffness solution.

convergence-confinement models.

• observational methods.

• finite element method (2-D, 3-D).

For some shield-driven tunnel projects now underway in The Netherlands, conventional models have been used to provide necessary information about tunnel lining behav-

1or. The philosophy ofthese conventional models is based on the following assumptions:

• It is sufficient to assume plane-strain conditions for the lining and the ground. This leads to avoiding three-dimensional effects.

• Stiffness of the lining is considered constant. Com- plete or restrained structural hinges may or may not be considered.

• Active soil pressures on the lining are assumed to be equal to the primary stresses in undisturbed ground.

• Between the lining and ground there exists a bond, both for radial and tangential deformations.

• Owing to the bond between the lining and ground,

h 2t~ 2~ 2~ (~D i i o 0 I d I } I I
Figure 2. Stresses caused by the assembling process, measured in the ring within the shield.


Volume 14, Number 2, 1999

TAN 29 igg~ 13:11:![' PLOT ~2. 1 TI~E~ RSY$-O $,',~ =-598~ =lOl9 ~,',1~' =24,3 &Eta=4796
TAN 29 igg~
PLOT ~2.
$,',~ =-598~
~,',1~' =24,3

Figure 3. Normal stresses are not uniformly distributed in radial, axial and tangential directions (stress paths around the key segment).

• The long-term ring forces remain close to the level that was obtained during the assembly (Fig. 4).

• Eccentricity of the axial normal forces is obviouslypresent, as can be seen from the bending moments in the longitudinal direction ofthe tun- nels (Fig. 5).

• Maximum measured sectional forces and moments are twice the highest predicted with conventional models (Fig. 6).

The appearance ofassembly stresses in the lining, which were measured, could be explained by a hypothesis consider- ing the combination of loads and con- struction effects. The presence of grout hardening behind the TBM taft, together

with jack forces, assembly imperfections and tolerances, could lead to unexpected stress development in the concrete seg- mented lining. The non-uniform jack forces, which are supported by the segments to provide TBM driving, are used at the same time for segment placing and fixing towards the neighboring ring. Placing of the key segment between the other segments is definitely dependent on the available space that can be smaller or bigger than the size of the key segment. The dynamic process of tunnel driving can be seen perfectly by observing a ring inside the shield. When the ring is completely assembled, the jack forces move the TBM forward, allowing grout injection behind the TBM tail. At that moment the ring behind the last one in the TBM, which is loaded by grout load, is going to "hang" on the ring within TBM. It is obvious that assembling a ring with a perfect circle shape on a deformed ring, in addition to the absence of full contact in the lateral and ring joints, could lead to three-dimensional stress distribution in all directions through the concrete segments. A combination ofthese effects could cause deformation of the tunnel in the longitudinal direction, behind the TBM in the construction stage, resulting in bending moments and














oo°o •






f~ce levelafterasse~ly








Figure 4. Long-term ring forces remain close to the load that was obtained

during the assembly.

deformations of the lining result in reaction stresses in the ground.

and the behaviour of the soil and

lining are generally assumed to be elastic.

• Material properties

• The serviceability stage is essential for the lining design.

After the completion of the first shield-driven tunnel in the Netherlands, The Second Heinenoord Tunnel (see Bakker et al. 1999 in this issue of T&UST), it was concluded that some of the assumptions stated above are not applicable to Dutch soft soil conditions. As a result of measuring, obser- vations and three-dimensional finite element analyses, some important facts have emerged that should be consid- ered carefully:

• Stresses caused by the assembly process were mea- sured in the ring within the shield (Fig. 2).

• Stresses are not uniformly distributed (stress peaks) in radial, axial and tangential directions (stress paths around the key segment) (Fig. 3).

Volume 14, Number 2, 1999


DMX =,0047~9
SEPC~I 5. 517
S~ ~-, 35DE-03
~, 627E-04
.3DIE+ 03
-. 258E-03
-. 166E-0]

Figure 5. Eccentricity of the axial normal forces is obviously available.





~ 200


















Figure 6. Maximum measured moments are twice the highest predicted.

definitely in an unforeseen three-dimensional stress distri- bution. It is obvious that conventional models are not able to predict realistic structure behaviour in the construction stage and operating stage. The observations and measure- ments on the Second Heinenoord Tunnel project, together with 3-D finite element analyses of the tunnel structure, gave a totally different stress distribution picture in the lining, in comparison to the results from conventional models. The assembly process, grouting process, measure tolerances, and inaccurate placing of segments definitely play a crucial role in three-dimensional stress develop- ment. Because of this it was concluded that a three- dimensional finite element model (block elements) should be applied in the structural analyses and design of the lining of the shield-driven Green Heart Tunnel. This type ofmodelling can provide full information about the influence of the key segment on the complete system of rings. It is also possible to observe the realistic behaviour of joints, packing materials, grout hardening, imperfections


and tolerances under specific non-uniform jack forces and overburden. Furthermore, the assembly within the shield concerning sequential placing ofthe segments (load history) and special loads (freezing, dynamic, etc.) can also be analysed. Nevertheless, the three-dimensional finite element mod- els are not the models of common practice, but they could be essential in predicting the realistic tunnel-lining behaviour. Research that is now taking place within the Project Office of the Green Heart Tunnel, deals with the following objectives:

• grout behavior (hardening);

• packing materials;

• explicit domination of relevant parameters;

• avoidance of stress peaks;

• verification of calculated and measured stresses;

• reliability ofthree-dimensional finite element models with applicability to risk analyses and test require- ments.

3.0 Development of 3D-FEM model for shield-

driven tunnels

As a result of the considerations mentioned above (in relation to measurement results and 3D-research), Holland Railconsult (participating in the Project Office ofthe Green Heart Tunnel) developed a three-dimensional finite ele- ment model in order to be able to research the construction behaviour ofshield-driven tunnels. Using this model, which is closer to reality than the available models, it is possible to predict the so-called assembly stresses more realistically. At the same time, the three-dimensional influences, such as grout hardening, can be analysed much more accurately. A few aspects concerning the influence ofaxial forces and unequally loaded tunnel rings have already been shown (Blom et al. 1998). Because of the continuous development and enhancement ofthe finite element models, the possibili- ties for researching tunnel lining behaviour are constantly increasing. For example, it is now possible to model a significant part of the tunnel (more than 10 rings; see Fig. 8), including the grout at different stages of stiffness devel- opment. The stress distribution through the segments, as they are assembled, also can be followed in the future. This paper describes the background with the applied assumptions to the model and their relation to the site- measurements. Furthermore, an example is given of a twelve-ring model, which was used for researching the influence of hardening grout behind the TBM. Finally, an overview is given of some future plans.

3.2 Mode/Description

The 3-D model shown in Figure 7 was made (1996) with the ANSYS finite element sot%ware package. The concrete segments were modelled using solid volume elements. The first models were designed for three rings (seven segments and the key segment each) with, in total, 8100, each consist- ing of eight nodes, solid brick elements (concrete quality B45). Each node had three degrees of freedom. Ground property was represented by applying spring-damper ele- ments (1418 in total) at three-quarters of the perimeter (after Duddeck 1980), with Young's modulus of elasticity around 45,0 MPa/m 2. The interaction between the segments (in all directions) was realised by applying interface or contact elements. These "point-to-point" elements were used because of their capacity to simulate cold interface conditions transmitting only compression in the direction normal to the surfaces and shear in the tangential direction (Fig. 8). The packing material, the only contact between the rings at ring joint, was represented by four contact elements each, behaving as linear springs until sliding occurs. The stiffness

Volume 14, Number 2, 1999

Figure 7. Three-dimensional models developed with ANSYS finite element software. of the four elements is

Figure 7. Three-dimensional models developed with ANSYS finite element software.

of the four elements is equal to the stiffness of the packer (when it is assumed to have linear behaviour). The dowels are not modelled. The first ring is supported in the axial direction. In the radial direction the surrounding ground is modelled as linear springs, following the Duddeck theory. The radial forces are also according to Duddeck theory (350 kN/m2), while in the axial direction the TBM driving forces (14j acks, max. force at the bottom of 3500 kN, min. force at the top of

1000 kN) are modelled. When considering the construction stage, the last ring within the TBM shield was directly loaded by the jack forces without any load or support in the radial direction. In the serviceability stage, all rings are loaded and supported in the same way. As mentioned above, the ground loads on rings 1 and 2 (Fig. 7) are modelled using the Duddeck theory, while it is assumed that the grout behind the TBM changes from liquid to solid. In this way, a situation is created that is

Contact elements Figure 8. Segment assembly.
Contact elements
Figure 8. Segment assembly.

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to the stiffness ofthe surrounding ground (linearly; see Fig.10). It is also assumed that when the grout has become solid, the Duddeck theory can be applied. It is clear that in the liquid grout situation, Duddeck's force distribution is not real- istic, because hi§ theory does not take into account this kind of circumstance. The loading history has been estab- lished as follows. On the first five rings behind the TBM, a "floating force" was applied. The basic principle is that the radial grout pressure should be equal to the overburden around the lining. This force gradually changes (linearly) to Duddeck forces. On the other five rings, the full Duddeck theory was applied. Under the assumption that the ra- dial grout pressure on the lining is equal to the vertical ground pressure or the liquid grout pressure, the total upward force cannot be taken by the grout itself. To reach equilibrium, this force has to be spread out to the sides (Fig. 11), i.e. to the TBM and to the grout that is already solid. Of course, there is not a sharp line between liquid and solid grout, and the transition area also depends on the TBM driving speed. Between the "fully liquid" and the "fully solid" stage of the grout, there is an area where the grout stiffness takes an average value. The jack force distribution blocks, which act as an inter- mediary between the TBM jacks and the tunnel segments, are also modelled. In this model, they are capable only of moving in the axial direction and of rotating around the tangential axis.

4.0 Results, Conclusions and Recommendations

Some results fromthe calculation models described above are briefly given here. Figure 12 shows the tangential stresses along the lining. It is obvious that the value of the stresses does not change much, because of the hardening grout, but the distribution around the lining does. Figure 13 shows the deformed shape of the lining as a result of the loads previously described. In these calculations, a flexible packing material was applied (plywood), so the rings can rotate relatively strongly in relation to each other. When modelling concrete-to-concrete contact, this rotation will be much smaller. The construction behaviour found in the mentioned application is definitely influenced by the assumed ground and grout behaviour, as well as by the properties of the


Figure 9. Side view of TBM and lining.

similar to that

TBM stood still for more than eight hours. When the driving process was restarted, some damage occurred at the tunnel

segments, which was also one ofthe reasons for performing

a three-dimensional analysis. In reality, of course, the ring within the TBM is not just "suddenly there", but is assembled segment by segment. To be able to analyse the stress development per segment in time, new kinds of contact elements are applied, which can

be "switched off' together with the volume elements, repre- senting the concrete segments. By switching them on again,

a stepwise ring assembly can be simulated. The problem in

this case is, where is the next segment going to be placed when the existing structure is deformed?

of the Second Heinenoord Tunnel, when the

3.2 ConstructionStage, Including Grouting

To be able to analyse the influence of the grout directly behind the TBM, together with the overall asymmetrically axial loads, it was necessary to model a larger part of the tunnel (12 rings; see Fig. 9). The axial force from the TBM asymmetrically loads the lining with close to the resultant hydrostatic pressure at the excavation front, but working in the opposite direction. Furthermore, floating of the lining behind the TBM can occur in the liquid grout (depending on grout properties and distribution around the tunnel). This causes an upward force on the back ofthe TBM, which must be compensated through the jack forces. The question is, how does the lining react at the moment that it is being subjected to the asymmetric, axial force in combination with the upward force caused by the liquid grout? Another question is, how does the strength of the grout develop in time, and which situation occurs when the grout is completely hardened (Duddeck-like situation or something else)?

Of the

12 tunnel



one ring is not loaded and not sup- ported (located in the TBM); five conse- quent rings behind it are loaded and supported by grout; and the other six

rings are loaded and supported by the ground. Thus, it is assumed that aP~er placement of rings, the grout is com- pletely hardened and has the same properties as the surrounding ground. From the first to the sixth grout ring, the bedding stiffness increases from 0

7.5 ' LINING . o

Figure 10. Distribution of ground stiffness behind the TBM.


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Figure 11. Applied loads. applied packing materials. It is clear that further research into these

Figure 11. Applied loads.

applied packing materials. It is clear that further research into these matters is of utmost importance. The other very important parameter is the fact that the tunnel rings have been surrounded by solid grout, and once were surrounded by liquid grout, so a phased simulation seems to be unavoid- able for obtaining accurate predictions. The influence on assembling stresses of the imperfec- tion of dimensions of segments and non-accurate assem- bling should be investigated. The results of this study could be applied as requirements for segment production and assembling procedures (e.g. protocol of assembling). The problem ofassembling stresses could be solved through reduction of deformation differences by applying the fol- lowing measures:

Support structure. Usuallycalled"Reformer",this structure can be used to maintain the circular form of the rings, which are already placed behind the shield.

• Longer shield tail. More rings could be assembled within the shield. The distance between the deformed rings behind the shield and the undeformed ring in the shield will then be longer.

• Thicker Hning.

When the stiffness of the lining

increases, then the deformation differences between

lining increases, then the deformation differences between Figure 12. Tangential stresses. Volume 14, Number 2, 1999

Figure 12. Tangential stresses.

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the rings will decrease. Because a thicker lining provides better stress distribution within the segments, its influence of the axial stresses on tunnel lining behaviour will be reduced.

• Steel-fibre concrete.

The stress

concentrations caused by the as- sembling process can lead to cracks in segments. Steel-fibre concrete can absorb these stresses.

• Controlled grouting .With a spe- cial grout consistency, considering the time of grout hardening, the influence of external loads on the lining deformations behind the shield could be controlled.


tant matter is dimension tolerances. A discrepancy of only 1.0 mm per segment length gives, at the end, 7.0 mm ofproblematic space. There may be too much space or not enough space for placing a key segment.

The future model analyses have to be verified through appropriate experimental data and measurements in situ as well as in laboratories. Furthermore, the conventional models that are usually applied in engineering practice should fulfill the requirements obtained from these verifi- cations.

Quality control


Laboratory Testing

In order to test the described hypotheses and calculation models concerning assembly stresses under laboratory cir- cumstances, full-scale laboratory tests are being conducted. For this purpose, three tunnel rings, consisting ofthe Botlek Railway Tunnel segments, are being built in the Stevin II laboratory at Delft University. Different conditions that can occur during the construction of the tunnel lining can be simulated. In particular, the influence of a "not-fitting key segment" and varying jack forces are to be researched. Figure 14 shows an artist impression of the testing facility. The main goals that should be achieved through this experiment are to analyse the complex lining behaviour under conditioned circumstances and to predict realistic structure behaviour with more certainty. Nevertheless, the calibration of 3-D finite element models can take a place in the design process, aiming at an economical, optimum solution related to functional requirements. The expected results are related to the general lining behaviour (3D stress and strain paths in the lining), structure behaviour during assembly (influences ofradial loaded and not loaded rings, assembling imperfections and tolerances, placing of the key segment, jack forces, grout process, loose sands, etc.), and structural behaviour in the serviceability stage (i.e. freezing loads, dynamic loads, etc.)

stage (i.e. freezing loads, dynamic loads, etc.) Figure 13. Deformations. TUNNELLING ANDUNDERGROUND

Figure 13. Deformations.


Figure 14. Test set-up. 6.0 Conclusion In most cases of common practice, engineers follow the

Figure 14. Test set-up.

6.0 Conclusion

In most cases of common practice, engineers follow the existing construction traditions: the structure already ex- ists, so let us find out how it behaves. This is the opposite approach to asking, "How do we want a structure to be- have?", and then designing the structure to behave that way. To be able to use the latter as the basic principle in designing tunnels, the construction behaviour has to be known and has to be predictable. The investigations de- scribed herein can contribute much to reaching this goal.


7.0 References

Bakker, K. J.; Boer, F. de; Admiraal, J. B. M.; and Jaarsveld, E. P. van. 1999. Monitoring pilot projects using bored tunnelling:

the Second Heinenoord Tunnel and the Botlek Rail Tunnel.

Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 14 (2), 121-



K. J.; van Schelt, W.; and Plekkenpol, J. W. 1996.

Predictions and a monitoring scheme with respect to the

boring of the


Heinenoord tunnel. Proc.


Symposium, City University, London, April 1996.

Blom, C. B. M.; Duurland, H. C. W.; van Oosterhout, G. P.; Jovanovic, P. S. 1998. Three-dimensionalstructural analyses and design of segmented tunnel lining at construction stage.


GeotechnicalEngineering, 1998, Udine, Italy.

of a Conference on Numerical Methods in

van der Horst, E. J. 1998. Invloed van voegmaterialen op de krachtswerking in gesegmenteerde betonnen boortunnels (in Dutch). Technical University of Delft. Duddeck, H. 1980. Empfehlungen zur Berechnung yon Tunneln im Lockergestein (i/1German). Bautechnik 10, 349-356. Blom, C. B. M. and van Oosterhout, G. P. 1997. Tweede orde evaluatie tunnelconstructie Tweede Heinenoordtunnel (in Dutch). Gouda. van de Horst, E. J.; Blom, C. B. M.; van der Veen, C.; Jovanovic, P. S. 1999. Influence of Packing Materials on Tunnel Lining

Behaviour. Challenges for the 21st Century: Conference Proceedings, WorldTunnel Congress,June 1999,Oslo,Norway,

Vol. 1,363-368. Rotterdam: A. A. Balkema. Oosterhout, G. P. C.; Blom, C. B. M.; Jovanovic, P. S. '1999.

• Analyses of tunnel 1.ining behaviour in soft soil during the constructionstage, The Second HeinenoordTunnel.Conference Proceedings, 1999, RAI-Amsterdam,The Netherlands (invited paper). Leendertse, W. L.; Bakker, K. J.; and Teunissen, E. A. H. 1997. TBM-tunnellingin the Netherlands--an overview of research

and development. Tunnels for People:Proceedingsof the World Tunnel Congress Vienna '97, Vol. 1I, 593-603. Rotterdam: A.A.


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