A Novel Approach For Determining Cutting Geometry For TBM Using Full-Scale Laboratory Linear Rock Cutting And PFC3D-Based Numerical Simulations


Efficient rock excavation requires an optimal s-p ratio, where adjacent cuts interact to completely plane the rock surface. Traditionally, the specific energy (SE) methodology has been used to determine this ratio, but its U-shaped curve is sometimes incomplete or absent, making it difficult to find the optimal s-p ratio. In this research, an alternative methodology is proposed. This methodology relies on the morphology of the excavated rock surface, specifically, the amounts of overbreaks. To evaluate the proposed methodology, full-scale rock cutting experiments were conducted in the laboratory. Numerical simulations were also conducted in 3D particle flow code (PFC3D) and the results were validated by the full-scale laboratory rock cutting experimental data. The study also involved conducting sensitivity analyses to evaluate the effectiveness of downscaling and upscaling the PFC3D-based model to obtain results for full-scale applications. Following the excavation, laser profilometry was employed to characterize the excavated rock surfaces, and the resulting profiles were used to calculate the volume of overbreaks. Plots of these volumes against the s-p ratio were generated to identify the optimal s-p ratio. The findings indicated the presence of a noticeable optimal s-p ratio in both the PFC3D-based simulations and full-scale laboratory experiments. This optimal s-p ratio was not evident when the specific energy methodology was employed. This proposed methodology exhibits considerable potential and can prove beneficial in determining cutting geometry that is optimal for site-specific and TBM-specific, as well as in the design and production of tunnel boring machines.


Geosciences and Geological and Petroleum Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Downscaling; Optimal cutting geometry; Overbreaks; PFC3D model scaling; Rock cutting

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Article - Journal

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© 2024 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2024