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Impact of Rock Mass Characteristics on Hard Rock Tunnel Boring Machine Performance


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Author A Ramezanzadeh, J Rostami and D Tadic


While hard rock tunnel boring machines (TBMs) have an established track
record in the tunnelling industry, accurate estimation of TBM performance for
each specific project remains critical. Machine performance prediction is
required to assist planning activities, including costing and schedule
preparation, machine specification and effective planning of maintenance and
repairs. In addition, monitoring machine performance during the construction
period is required to assess and manage excavation progress, and to achieve
optimal advance rates based on specific geotechnical conditions exposed during
excavation. TBM performance analysis can also contribute to the development of
more accurate performance prediction models for future applications.

Rock mass characteristics play a dominant role in machine performance. This
paper offers a review of the impact of rock mass characteristics on TBM
penetration rates for two specific tunnelling projects. A discussion is provided
on the results of statistical analysis of available field data, including
geological back mapping, rock properties and measured rates of penetration
(ROP). The analysis offers a comparison of the achieved and predicted ROPs to
provide a better understanding of the influence of rock mass properties on the
performance of hard rock TBMs. A new rock mass adjustment factor is introduced
to enhance the accuracy of an existing prognosis model for use in jointed rock