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Computation of the Minimum Limit Support Pressure for the Shield Tunnel Face Stability Under Seepage Condition


This paper presents numerical and theoretical studies on the stability of shallow shield tunnel face found in cohesive-frictional soil. The minimum limit support pressure was determined by superposition method; it was calculated by multiplying soil cohesion, surcharge load, and soil weight by their corresponding coefficients. The varying characteristics of these coefficients with soil friction angle and tunnel cover-to-diameter ratio were obtained by wedge model and numerical simulation. The face stability of shallow shield tunnel with seepage was studied by deformation and seepage coupled numerical simulation; the constitutive model used in the analysis was elastic-perfectly plastic Mohr–Coulomb model. The failure mode of tunnel face was shown related to water level. By considering the effect of seepage on failure mode, the wedge model was modified to calculate the limit support pressure under seepage condition. The water head around the tunnel face was fitted by an exponential function, and then an analytical solution to the limit support pressure under seepage condition was deduced. The variations in the limit support pressure on strength parameters of soil and water lever compare well with the numerical results. The modified wedge model was employed to analyze the tunnel face stability of Qianjiang cross-river shield tunnel. The influence of tide on the limit support pressure was obtained, and the calculated limit support pressure by the modified wedge model is consistent with the numerical result.

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The financial supports by National Key Research and Development Program (through Grant No. 2016YFC0800202), National Science Foundation of China (NSFC through Grant No. 50908171), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities are gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Xilin Lu.

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Lu, X., Zhou, Y., Huang, M. et al. Computation of the Minimum Limit Support Pressure for the Shield Tunnel Face Stability Under Seepage Condition. Int J Civ Eng 15, 849–863 (2017).

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  • Shield tunnel
  • Face stability
  • Limit support pressure
  • Numerical simulation
  • Limit equilibrium
  • Seepage