Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 261–275 | Cite as

Influence of Corrosion on the Abrasion of Cutter Steels Used in TBM Tunnelling

  • N. Espallargas
  • P. D. Jakobsen
  • L. Langmaack
  • F. J. Macias
Original Paper


Abrasion on tunnel boring machine (TBM) cutters may be critical in terms of project duration and costs. Several researchers are currently studying the degradation of TBM cutter tools used for excavating hard rock, soft ground and loose soil. So far, the primary focus of this research has been directed towards abrasive wear. Abrasive wear is a very common process in TBM excavation, but with a view to the environment in which the tools are working, corrosion may also exert an influence. This paper presents a selection of techniques that can be used to evaluate the influence of corrosion on abrasion on TBM excavation tools. It also presents the influence of corrosion on abrasive wear for some initial tests, with constant steel and geomaterial and varying properties of the excavation fluids (soil conditioners, anti-abrasion additives and water). The results indicate that the chloride content in the water media greatly influences the amount of wear, providing evidence of the influence of corrosion on the abrasion of the cutting tools. The presence of conditioning additives tailored to specific rock or soil conditions reduces wear. However, when chloride is present in the water, the additives minimise wear rates but fail to suppress corrosion of the cutting tools.


TBM Tunnel boring Abrasion Cutter steel Corrosion Tribocorrosion 



The authors wish to acknowledge contributions made by the research project “Future Advanced Steel Technology for Tunneling” (FAST-Tunn). The project is managed by SINTEF/NTNU and funded by the Research Council of Norway, the Robbins Company, BASF Construction Chemicals, the Norwegian Railroad Authorities, Scana Steel Stavanger and BMS Steel. The authors would also like to acknowledge the experimental work performed by C. Grødal, C. Mougel, E. Krogstad and F. Caspari. Their work and efforts have made a major contribution to this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Espallargas
    • 1
  • P. D. Jakobsen
    • 2
  • L. Langmaack
    • 3
  • F. J. Macias
    • 2
  1. 1.Tribology Lab, Department of Engineering Design and Materials, Faculty of Engineering Science and TechnologyNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department of Civil Engineering and Transport, Faculty of Engineering Science and TechnologyNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  3. 3.BASF Construction Chemicals Europe Ltd.ZurichSwitzerland

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