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Blackpool South Strategy project: analysis of pipe-jacking records


Abstract and Figures

In recent years, there has been an increased resort to microtunnelling/pipe-jacking as a means of constructing underground conduits (for water, sewage, gas and other utilities) to avoid on-street disruption in urban areas. In this paper, technical details of two 1200 mm internal diameter microtunnels in silty sand totalling 550 m in length are discussed; the microtunnels were constructed by Ward and Burke Construction Ltd. as part of the Blackpool South Strategy project. A general overview of the tunnelling process is provided, including the separation plant, jacking facilities and the bentonite supply process. The results show that the lubrication system was very effective at maintaining low skin friction, and that the pipe string was almost fully buoyant for the majority of the drive. Stoppages were shown to have a significant but transient effect on the jacking force; high jacking forces upon resumption of jacking after a stoppage return to ‘baseline’ levels after the length of one pipe diameter. Machine deviations did not appear to play a major role in increasing jacking forces for this particular project.
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ABSTRACT: In recent years, there has been an increased resort to microtunnelling/pipe-jacking as a means of constructing
underground conduits (for water, sewage, gas and other utilities) to avoid on-street disruption in urban areas. In this paper,
technical details of two 1200 mm internal diameter microtunnels in silty sand totalling 550 m in length are discussed; the
microtunnels were constructed by Ward and Burke Construction Ltd. as part of the Blackpool South Strategy project. A general
overview of the tunnelling process is provided, including the separation plant, jacking facilities and the bentonite supply
process. The results show that the lubrication system was very effective at maintaining low skin friction levels, and that the pipe
string was almost fully buoyant for the majority of the drive. Stoppages were shown to have a significant but transient effect on
the jacking force; high jacking forces upon resumption of jacking after a stoppage return to ‘baseline’ levels after the length of
one pipe diameter. Machine deviations did not appear to play a major role in increasing jacking forces for this particular project.
Keywords: Microtunnelling; Jacking force; Skin friction; Lubrication; Bentonite; Stoppages; Deviations.
The rapid expansion of urban areas worldwide has resulted in
a need to provide new and/or upgrade existing water, sewage,
gas and other utility conveyance networks. Pipe-jacking has
emerged as the preferred method of utility pipeline
construction, as it avoids the on-street disruption arising from
trenches constructed from the ground surface. However, the
difficulty in identifying suitable intermediate shaft locations in
urban projects means that long drives are often necessary;
keeping jacking forces at manageable levels is a challenge in
these drives. For example, excessive stress concentrations can
give rise to spalling at the joints between pipes, potentially
inducing pipe failure [1]. Intermediate jacking stations are
cumbersome, however, and are generally kept to a minimum.
The total jacking load (Ftotal) consists of the resistance at the
face (Fface) of the tunnel boring machine (TBM) and the
frictional resistance (Ffriction) between the pipe train and the
surrounding ground. The frictional force is often the main
contribution to the jacking load, especially in long drives [2].
The introduction of a lubricant into the overcut (the annulus
formed on account of the TBM having a larger diameter than
the pipes) is an efficient means of reducing the jacking force.
The skin friction (τ, force per unit surface area of pipe)
depends on the effective normal stress
from the soil on
the pipe, the total effective weight of the pipe string (
and the angle of effective interface shearing resistance
between the pipe and the soil, δ:
* +
where D is the pipe diameter and L is the embedded pipe
string length. Lubrication has the effect of lowering δ.
Additionally, if the pipe is buoyant in the lubricant,
be lower than the weight of the pipe
, and may be as little as
zero in a fully buoyant condition. A number of authors [1, 3-
6] attest to the benefits of a properly-lubricated overcut. For
example, τ values ranging between 0.1 kPa in well-lubricated
drives to 4 kPa in moderately-lubricated drives were identified
in four different drives in clay and gravel deposits [7].
Stoppages and deviations in steering also influence the
jacking forces along a tunnel string [8, 9]. A study of
microtunnels in glacial till in Ireland [10] found that stoppages
in sands/gravels required a higher frictional force to be
overcome upon recommencement of jacking than in clays.
Furthermore, the stoppage duration had an effect on this
jacking force in clay but not in gravel. Long stoppages in soft
ground may allow the TBM to settle, resulting in deviations
from the intended path. Deviations, irrespective of the cause,
can increase the required jacking force. An analysis of data
from microtunnels in alluvium and glacial till in Ireland [11]
found that for two drives of similar length and ground
conditions, the drive with the greater deviations overall
required much greater jacking forces.
This paper provides an overview of some tunnelling aspects
of the Blackpool South Strategy project, U.K. Following a
brief description of the tunnelling process, data recorded
(jacking force, deviations, bentonite injections) for two 1200
mm internal diameter tunnel drives are presented and
The project site is located in Blackpool, U.K. The over-
arching purpose of the project is to improve bathing water
quality along the seafront and mitigate the risk of flooding.
This necessitated (i) an increase in the capacity of the sewer
network, (ii) a reduction in the volume of surface water
entering the network and (iii) an upgrade to the wastewater
pumping station situated at Lennox Gate. The latter element
Blackpool South Strategy project: analysis of pipe-jacking records
Kevin G. O’Dwyer1, Bryan A. McCabe1, Brian B. Sheil2, David P. Hernon3
1Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway, University Road, Galway, Ireland
2Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford, United Kingdom
3Ward and Burke Construction Limited, Unit N, Bourne End Business Park, Cores End Road, Bourne End, United Kingdom
Cite as:
O’Dwyer, K.G., McCabe, B.A., Sheil, B.B. and Hernon, D.P. (2018) Blackpool South Strategy Project: analysis of pipe-
jacking records, Proceedings of Civil Engineering Research in Ireland (CERI 2018), pp. 265-270.
included the provision of a new storm-water holding tank to
hold excess storm water until pumping back into the sewer
network is possible. New pipework will connect this tank to
the existing pumping station. A new surface water pumping
station will pump surface water straight to sea.
The ground conditions comprise a layer of peat (1 2 m
thick), overlying medium dense sand (2.6 4.4 m thick), in
turn overlying silty sand. The water table was at a depth of 1.2
m in a borehole close to the reception shaft of Drive A.
Figure 1. Location of tunnels and shafts at Blackpool site
(adapted from Google Maps).
The locations of the two drives, A and B, referred to in this
paper, are shown in Figure 1. These provide a sleeve for 700
mm internal diameter ductile water pipes which will transport
excess stormwater from the holding tank to the outfall pipe at
Harrowside, which will then feed the water out to sea.
TBM, pipe and general details
A schematic of the tunnelling process, including TBM,
jacking frame, separation plant, slurry feed and return lines
and control unit, is provided in Figure 2.
Figure 2. Schematic of the microtunnelling process
(courtesy of Herrenknecht).
The TBM used at Blackpool was a Herrenknecht AVN
1200 (slurry shield), with a cutterhead diameter of 1515 mm
and a machine lining outer diameter of 1505 mm. Each
concrete pipe was 2.5 m long with an outer diameter of 1490
mm, providing an overcut 25 mm thick into which lubrication
may be pumped.
A laser positioned on the back wall of the launch shaft and
aimed at a target at the rear of the machine helped the operator
to direct the TBM. In general, ground conditions dictate how
far the machine deviates from the intended line and what
steering interventions are needed. For instance, the machine
can change direction more easily in sandstone bedrock or
cobble formation than in sand or clay deposits [12].
Drive A was 272 m in length, constructed in an east north-
easterly direction with a gradient of -0.154 % and an initial
launch invert depth of 7.61 m. Drive B was 295 m in length,
constructed in a west south-westerly direction with a gradient
of 0.347 % and an initial launch invert depth of 7.59 m (see
Figure 1).
Jacking frame and intermediate jacking station
The jacking frame consisted of four hydraulic cylinders that
push the machine and the concrete pipes through the ground.
The hydraulic cylinders have a total stroke length of 3.52 m.
The operator controls the speed at which the hydraulic
cylinders advance the tunnel through the ground; this is
dependent on torque, jacking forces, ground conditions and
the steering of the machine. Figure 3 displays the main setup
for the pipe jacking process with a concrete pipe in place for
the recommencement of jacking.
Figure 3. Concrete pipe installed for jacking.
In the event that the jacking forces become excessive,
recourse is made to intermediate jacking stations (interjacks),
pre-installed partway through the drive. The interjack reacts
off the pipes towards the launch shaft to advance the pipe train
on the side of the reception shaft. The pipe string is therefore
advanced in an ‘inchworm’ manner [13]. Each interjack
consists of 10 hydraulic rams which are placed inside the
tunnel at 100 m intervals. In this project, an interjack was
placed in both tunnels but was not used as the total jacking
force remained sufficiently low.
Separation plant
As the TBM advances, the revolving cutterhead excavates the
soil material. During this process, water is pumped at high
velocity to the head of the machine, where the soil material
and water mix to form a slurry. This slurry is then pumped to
the separation plant above ground, where the solid material is
recovered from the slurry, before recirculation to the face of
the machine in a closed system.
The separation plant consists of a primary shaker, a
secondary shaker and a centrifuge. The slurry returning from
the face of the machine passes through the primary shaker
initially. The primary shaker comprises coarse screens that
only permit material finer than 4 mm to pass. The secondary
shaker removes fine particles (greater than 20 µm). Finally,
the mixture is pumped into a centrifuge which spins between
700 rpm and 2000 rpm. A flocculant is added to bind the fine
silt particles together thereby aiding their removal; particle
sizes greater than 1 µm are removed at this stage. The solid
material that emerges from the shaker screens and centrifuge
is subsequently dried by adding lime and removed from site.
Lubricant is pumped into the overcut to maintain tunnel
stability and to reduce friction at the pipe-soil interface. For
the Blackpool project, the first station was located in the pipe
directly behind the TBM, with a further 19 stations positioned
in ensuing pipes (one every fifth pipe) and one on the launch
shaft wall. Each station comprised three lubrication ports
(separated by 12) situated at the midpoint of the pipe. A
lubrication station arrangement is shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4. Lubrication station.
The bentonite lubrication system is volume-controlled; the
volumes required for each station are calculated from the
TBM advance rate and ground conditions [14]. The bentonite
solution comprised Hydraul-EZ and water in the ratio 22.7kg
to 400 l. Other additives included (i) soda ash to balance pH,
(ii) MX polymer to prevent additional groundwater
penetrating the mix, and (iii) torque reducer to promote
lubrication and to reduce the potential for the pipeline to
become jammed due to soil pressures exceeding that of the
bentonite lubrication acting on the pipeline. When tunnelling
in fine sands and silts, more lubricant is used than is required
to fill the overcut. The extra lubricant seeps into the ground
creating a filter cake that serves as a membrane or zone of low
permeability to transfer the support pressure acting in the
annular gap into the grain structure of the ground [15]. The
typical volume administered in these ground conditions is 2.5
times the overcut volume [15], based on experience of
monitoring on numerous pipe-jacking projects. The formation
of a filter cake in sands and gravels requires more bentonite
than in clays, due to differences in permeability.
The output data from the TBM was recorded at 200 mm
intervals of jacked distance. Output provided by the TBM
included jacking force, steering deviations, water circulation,
feed and slurry line pump details, advance speed, cutting
wheel revolution, slurry pressure in excavation, interjack
cylinder forces and bentonite injection volumes and pressures.
The results presented in the following sections relate to Drive
A only (with the exception of Figure 9), as findings are
generally consistent between the two drives. Due to a
technical issue with the data acquisition system, data were
only recorded for Drive B beyond a jacked distance of 62 m.
Jacking force
As already mentioned, minimizing jacking forces is an
important consideration during pipe jacking. From Figure 5, it
is clear that the jacking force remained relatively constant
throughout this drive, with an average of ~380 kN. Towards
the end of the drive, the jacking force rose to over 1000 kN, as
the TBM approached the concrete wall at the reception shaft.
Figure 5. Development of total jacking force during Drive A.
Two separate methods of calculating Ffriction are compared:
a) Method A: The face pressure was calculated over the
first 3 m of the drive (the length of the TBM) on the
assumption that Ffriction was negligible over that length
[16]. This face pressure was assumed constant for the
entire drive, enabling Ffriction to be inferred.
b) Method B: Based on the work of Pellet-Beaucour and
Kastner [8], Ffriction can be approximated from a trendline
joining the minimum points on the total jacking load
envelope, while Fface is taken as the difference between
the minimum and maximum envelopes (data plotted at
10 m intervals in Figure 6).
Figure 6. Maximum and minimum jacking force envelopes
and face resistance for drive A
Skin friction is calculated by dividing Ffriction by the
developed surface area of all embedded pipes. Skin friction
values calculated using these two methods are plotted against
jacked distance in Figure 7. Using Method A, it takes ~35 m
for the skin friction calculated to drop below 1 kPa, while it
takes ~70 m for the skin friction to drop below 1 kPa using
Method B. Average values beyond 100m are 0.27 kPa and
0.48 kPa for Methods A and Method B respectively.
It is interesting to note that if the slurry pressure recorded by
the TBM is assumed to be numerically equal to the face
resistance, the inferred skin friction is almost identical to that
derived using Method B (Figure 7). Similar observations were
made for Drive B. In practice, the slurry pressure is chosen to
be slightly higher than hydrostatic ground water pressure. The
match between slurry pressure and face pressure in this drive
is perhaps fortuitous and/or specific to the silty sand, but
suggests that the water pressure contributes significantly more
than the active earth pressure to the face pressure. Had the
machine been in clay, this slurry pressure would be lower than
the face pressure, as the clay material at the face would not
need the same level of support as the silty sand.
Figure 7. Methods of evaluating skin friction for drive A.
The constant face pressure method (Method A) is not a robust
approach as the face resistance is likely to change throughout
the drive. Fface calculated using Method B (also plotted on
Figure 6), shows great variation with jacked distance, with an
average value of 70 kN when the data are plotted at 1m
intervals. This suggests that the value of Fface adopted (200
kN) at the start of the drive was too high, possibly due to
careful driving style of the operator soon after launch.
Frictional resistances have been reported for sand of 2.8
kPa to 4 kPa without the use of lubrication [8] and 0.5 kPa
2.5 kPa with lubrication [17]; the measured values reported
here are at the lower end of these ranges, suggesting effective
lubrication practice, which is explored further in Sections 4.3
and 4.4.
The volume percentage of bentonite pumped into the annulus
is plotted (on a log scale) against jacked distance in Figure 8
for a selection of the 21 stations noted in Section 3.4. The
distance of these stations from the TBM face is shown in the
legend (the position of Station 25 was fixed at the launch
Station 1 (immediately behind the TBM) is responsible for
greater bentonite volume than any other individual station for
most of the drive. The trailing stations pumped smaller
volumes as their purpose was merely to maintain bentonite
levels. For example, at the midpoint of the tunnel (135 m),
Station 1 had produced 44% of the total volume of bentonite,
Station 25 had contributed 13% and Stations 2 and 3 supplied
10.9% and 6.4% respectively. Therefore, these four stations
contributed 74.3% of the total volume of bentonite at this
Figure 8. Percentage of total bentonite volume pumped from selected
The development of bentonite volume normalised by the
volume of the overcut during the drive is considered in Figure
9. It can be seen that the actual normalised bentonite volume
for Drive A (~6.5 for most of the drive length) far exceeds the
target of 2.5 recommended for filter cake formation [15]. The
corresponding normalized volume for Drive B is lower at ~4.5
although the average skin friction values are virtually the
same for both drives. Further research is required to assess
whether there is a minimum or threshold normalized bentonite
volume which enables minimum friction values to be
Figure 9. Normalised bentonite volume against jacked distance for
both Drives A and B.
Pipe buoyancy
It is highly desirable for a train of pipes to be buoyant within
its overcut, to help minimize the
term in eqn (1).
However, to the knowledge of the authors, pipe flotation has
not been demonstrated using measured data. Making
subject of Eqn (1) gives:
=>? &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&!@%
A value of 28.20 was assumed for
, interpolated from data
measured by Reilly and Orr [18] for a sand/rough concrete
interface. In Figure 10, two extreme scenarios are presented:
(i) full string weight (including TBM and power pack)
assumed, i.e.
, and (ii)
=0, i.e. the string is
fully buoyant. It is clear that scenario (i) is incorrect as
(impossible) negative values of
arise after a jacked distance
of 37 m. The correct normal stress lies somewhere between
the scenario (ii) data on Figure 10 and the
$+ A
axis. This
suggests that the pipe string is almost fully buoyant (on
average over its length), if not fully buoyant.
Figure 10. Demonstration of pipeline buoyancy
As the tunnel is advanced, small peaks in jacking force arise
as a result of overnight and weekend stoppages, an example of
which can be seen in Figure 11.
Figure 11. Influence of stoppages on total jacking force.
It appears that the initial peak in force upon resumption of
jacking following a stoppage is reversed quickly. It can be
seen in Figure 12 how the jacking force (normalized by the
initial force upon recommencement of jacking) has reached
baseline values over a length of little more than one pipe
Figure 12. Jacking force ratio over one tunnel diameter for overnight
The increase in jacking force after different stoppage
durations, t, are shown in Figure 13. Stoppage durations are
categorised as follows: t < 3 h (pipe change and miscellaneous
minor breaks), 10 h < t < 20 h (overnight stoppages) and t >
20 h (weekends). The jacking force increase is determined
using the initial force after a stoppage minus the average
jacking force calculated between one and two pipe diameters
upon resumption of jacking. Results show that additional
friction to be overcome is 0.22 kPa for short breaks, 0.30 kPa
for overnight stoppages and 0.75 kPa for stoppages greater
than 20 h. This suggests that the length of a stoppage dictates
the increase in jacking force. Although the trend is similar to
that reported by Curran and McCabe [10], values presented
here are much lower in comparison.
Figure 13. Influence of jacking force after stoppages
Steering deviations
The vertical and horizontal deviations from the laser line are
recorded from both the back of the machine and at the drill
head tip. With the articulated joint in the TBM used for
steering, it is important to note that the drill head tip and rear
of machine may not be on the same alignment (see Figure 14).
050 100 150 200 250 300
Jacking force increase (kN)
Jacked distance (m)
t < 3 h
t = 1 0h - 20h
t > 2 0h
Horizontal deviations remain relatively low throughout the
drive (<10 mm); only vertical deviations are shown in Figure
14 (over a selected length).
Figure 14. Deviations and total jacking force along tunnel.
For this silty sand site, steering deviations did not play a
major role in the development of jacking forces. The small
spikes in jacking forces, which align with deviations between
40 mm and 50 mm, are actually due to stoppages at these
This paper describes the microtunnelling process in the
context of a recent UK project, including the jacking,
lubrication and slurry separation processes. The results show
that for the drives considered, the lubrication system proved
very effective at maintaining low frictional forces, and the
data suggest that the string was at least partially buoyant for
the majority of the drive. The volume of lubrication used to
achieve this exceeded minimum recommended amounts and
efficiencies may be possible in this regard. Stoppages were
shown to have a significant but temporary effect on the
jacking force; high jacking forces upon resumption of jacking
after a stoppage return to ‘baseline’ levels after advancing
only the length of one pipe diameter. Machine deviations did
not appear to play a major role in increasing jacking forces for
this particular project.
The first author is funded by an Irish Research Council
Enterprise Partnership Scheme (IRC-EPS) Postgraduate
Scholarship, with Ward and Burke Construction Limited as
the industry partner. The third author is supported by the
Royal Academy of Engineering (U.K.) under the Research
Fellowship Scheme.
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... The prediction of the total jacking force and identification of anomalies is technically challenging due to its dependence on a number of complex factors, including site geology, lubrication performance, work stoppages, TBM driving style, and pipe misalignment (Cheng et al. 2017;Sun et al. 2019). For example, lubricant injected at the pipe-soil interface is used to minimize F s through a reduction in the effective weight of the pipe string, stabilization of the tunnel bore, and reduction of the pipe-soil interface friction (Milligan and Marshall 1998;Pellet-Beaucour and Kastner 2002;O'Dwyer et al. 2018). In contrast, work stoppages typically cause significant peaks in the jacking force upon resumption of tunneling (e.g., Norris and Milligan 1992;Pellet-Beaucour and Kastner 2002;Meskele and Stuedlein 2015;Cheng et al. 2017;Shi et al. 2018;O'Dwyer et al. 2019). ...
... The development of the total jacking force with jacked distance is shown in Fig. 10(a). Unusually high jacking forces are evident toward the end of the drive where the TBM was reported to have encountered and broken through the reception shaft (O'Dwyer et al. 2018(O'Dwyer et al. , 2019; therefore, the corresponding datapoints have been classed as abnormal. The raw data in Fig. 10(a) have also been transformed into the feature space shown in Fig. 10(b) employing the STL decomposition [Eq. ...
... 9. The reader is referred toO'Dwyer et al. (2018O'Dwyer et al. ( , 2019 for additional details on the project. ...
The proliferation of data collected by modern tunnel boring machines presents a substantial opportunity for the application of data-driven anomaly detection (AD) techniques that can adapt dynamically to site specific conditions. Based on jacking forces measured during microtunnelling, this paper explores the potential for AD methods to provide more accurate and robust detection of incipient faults. A selection of the most popular AD methods proposed in the literature, comprising both clusteringand regression-based techniques, are considered for this purpose. The relative merits of each approach is assessed through comparisons to three microtunnelling case histories where anomalous jacking force behaviour was encountered. The results highlight an exciting potential for the use of anomaly detection techniques to reduce unplanned downtimes and operation costs.
... For example, Ward & Burke Construction Ltd. have constructed approximately forty drives in excess of 500 m in length since 2013 in Ireland, U.K., Finland, U.S.A. and Canada. The total jacking force comprises the force at the tunnel boring machine (TBM) face and the shear force along the pipe-soil interface, with the latter usually dominant in longer drives, dictating the total force requirement (O'Dwyer et al., 2018). Furthermore, field experience has shown that transient peaks in the skin friction (i.e. the shear force divided by the embedded pipe surface area) arise upon restarting jacking after a stoppage; these stoppages can be short (due to the addition of a pipe to the string, for example) or long (due to weekend work breaks or breakdowns). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In long pipe-jacking drives used for installing utility pipelines, maximum jacking load requirements are usually governed by skin friction at the pipe-soil interface. In addition, field experience has shown that transient peaks in skin friction arise upon recommencement of jacking after stoppages; these stoppage durations can be short (due to the addition of a pipe to the string) or long (due to weekend stoppages or breakdowns) and constitute a risk for pipe-jacking contractors. In this paper, the problem is replicated in the laboratory using direct shear interface tests using a concrete specimen in one half of the apparatus and sand/bentonite mixtures in the other. Once critical state conditions were reached in these tests, stoppages of various durations (from 30 mins up to 2 weeks) were incorporated and the increase in shear stress upon recommencement of shearing was noted. From the experiments, there appears to be a threshold stoppage duration beyond which the skin friction increase appears to plateau, suggestive of a time-limited process within the bentonite. These skin friction data are shown to provide an upper bound to corresponding stoppage data from pipe-jacking drives in sandy ground conditions.
... Traditionally, tunnelling contractors have relied on empiricism, in addition to more formal design calculations. While simplified design calculations play an important role in tunnel design and construction, optimising tunnelling operations remains technically challenging due to their dependence on several complex factors, such as site geology, tunnel-boring machine (TBM) operational parameters and tunnel geometry (O'Dwyer et al., 2018(O'Dwyer et al., , 2020Phillips et al., 2019). Although a significant body of research conducted over the past 30 years has greatly enhanced understanding of these effects and their influence on tunnelling operations, the literature contains many examples where static 'rule-based' design methods fail to provide satisfactory prediction of field behaviourfor example, the papers by Barla et al. (2006), Choo and Ong (2015) and Sheil et al. (2016). ...
The proliferation of data collected by modern tunnel boring machines (TBMs) presents a substantial opportunity for the application of machine learning (ML) to support the decision-making process on site with timely and meaningful information. The observational method is now well-established in geotechnical engineering and has a proven potential to save time and money relative to conventional design. ML advances the traditional observational method by employing data analysis and pattern recognition techniques, predicated on the assumption of the presence of enough data to describe the modelled system’s physics. This paper presents a comprehensive review of recent advances and applications of ML to inform tunnelling construction operations with a view to increasing their potential for uptake by industry practitioners. This review has identified four main applications of machine learning to inform tunnelling, namely TBM performance prediction, tunnelling-induced settlement prediction, geological forecasting and cutterhead design optimisation. The paper concludes by summarising research trends and suggesting directions for future research for ML in the tunnelling space.
... Large-diameter open caissons are an increasingly common means of constructing underground storage and attenuation tanks, as well as launch and reception shafts for tunnelboring machines (O'Dwyer et al., 2018(O'Dwyer et al., , 2020. A 'cutting face' at the base of the caisson wall, resembling an inclined ring footing, is commonly used to aid the sinking phase. ...
Large-diameter open caissons are an increasingly common means of constructing underground storage and attenuation tanks, as well as launch and reception shafts for tunnel boring machines. A ‘cutting face’ at the base of the caisson wall, resembling an inclined ring footing, is typically used to aid the sinking phase. This paper describes a suite of over 15,000 finite element limit analyses exploring the bearing capacity of a caisson cutting face, partially- or wholly-embedded in undrained soil. The primary aim of the study is to assess the influence of the cutting face inclination angle on the vertical bearing capacity. The effects of cutting face roughness, internal overburden and surcharge, and caisson radius are also investigated. In particular, the results indicate that a steepening of the inclination angle may not always reduce the bearing capacity, if the cutting face is rough. The numerical output informs the development of a closed-form approach for application in routine design. The new design method is shown to provide an excellent representation of the numerical output.
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There are several well-established jacking force models available for determining the jacking loads. However, their ability to characterise the tunnel bore conditions is limited. A simple approach to characterise the tunnel bore conditions is proposed and applied to a case study where four sewer pipelines of the Shulin district sewer network in Taipei County, Taiwan were constructed to verify its validity. In this paper, four jacking force models are reviewed. Based upon the given soil properties and pipe dimensions as well as the pipe buried depth, the normal contact pressure (σ’) in each jacking force model and the measured frictional stress (τ) in each baseline section are utilised for back-analysis of the frictional coefficient (μavg). The μavg values outside the range of 0.1-0.3 recommended for lubricated drives can be attributed to the increasing pipe friction resulting from excessive pipe deviation or ground closure or due to the gravel formation not being long enough to establish lower face resistance or total jacking load. JMTA (Japan Microtunnelling Association) has indicated a further potential use in assessment of the interface performance during pipe-jacking works.
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To keep the sewer line functioning well, it needs to steer Microtunnelling Boring Machine (MTBM) properly and maintain driving within line and grade tolerances. An experienced operator can avoid rapid or erratic changes in direction when steering a MTBM. In addition, the steering ability of MTBM and the type of geological medium are also important factors to influence the alignment behaviour. This study developed a simple model to assess the characteristics of steering MTBM in various deposits by analysing both the alignment deviations and steering angles recorded from pipe to pipe. The steering results from three brands of MTBM involved with nine projects indicate that the relationship of the average adjustment and the average deviation remains linear for a certain type of geological medium. The ratio of average adjustment- to-average deviation changes from 1 for tunnelling in hard cobble formation and sandstone bedrock to 0.2 for tunnelling in soft clay. The ratio of average adjustment and average deviation is dependent only on the subgrade modulus if geologic medium is homogeneous for a certain type of MTBM. The steering behaviour of a poor drive due to inexperience operator will follow the same relationship of average adjustment and average deviation but with larger average adjustment and average deviation. However, the steering behaviours in a non-homogeneous soil deposit will not follow the steering linear relationship determined by subgrade modulus but show the smaller ratio of average adjustmentto- average deviation. As a result, the proposed model can provide a simple way to evaluate the cause of a poor steering result is from either non-homogeneous nature of geologic medium or error of operator or both.
Conference Paper
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Microtunnelling is an important trenchless construction technique that is used to successfully install essential utility pipelines in increasingly congested urban centres around the world. An important consideration for a microtunnelling project is the magnitude of the jacking force that will be required to advance the microtunnelling shield and the string of product pipes from the starting shaft to the receiving shaft. Frictional resistances along the surface of the pipeline have a major contribution to the total jacking force. This paper considers the frictional resistance mechanism involved in advancing concrete pipes through a coarse-grained soil and describes laboratory testing carried out with the aim of physically modelling the process. Comparisons are made with case histories from microtunnelling projects recently completed in coarse-grained soils. Recommendations are made on predicting likely jacking forces in advance of future projects.
Conference Paper
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The number of successful microtunnelling drives completed in Ireland is growing rapidly. However, current jacking force predictions rely on experience from the UK and beyond, often gained through work in soils with a small range of particle sizes. Irish soils have particular characteristics that can affect their behaviour; for example, Irish glacial tills are frequently well-graded, with a wide range of particle sizes from clay to gravel. Jacking force relationships developed for more uniform soils may not be appropriate in these conditions. This paper aims to address these issues by presenting jacking force records for microtunnel drives constructed using three different slurry shield microtunnelling machines in two different soil types during sewerage pipeline construction in Mullingar in the midlands of Ireland.
Pipe jacking is a construction process for the no-dig laying of pipes. Successful pipe jacking demands low skin friction between the ground and the jacked pipe. This is achieved with bentonite lubrication. The bentonite slurry fed into the annular gap fulfils several purposes. It stabilises the annular gap by supporting the surrounding ground and reduces friction contact between ground and jacked pipe. The Bentonite Handbook deals comprehensibly with the relevant aspects of annular gap lubrication: starting with the ground conditions, which are of decisive importance for lubrication, through the rheological properties of the bentonite slurry to the technical components of lubrication technology and lubrication strategy. The use of standardised measuring apparatus is described as well as mixing equipment and the automatic lubrication system. Overview tables with calculations and suggested values for bentonite consumption quantities depending on the prevailing ground conditions and the pipe jacking parameters complete the recommendations. © 2017 Wilhelm Ernst & Sohn, Verlag für Architektur und technische Wissenschaften GmbH & Co. KG. All rights reserved.
This study investigates the influencing factors that affect the jacking loads during slurry pipe-jacking works at four drives in the Shulin district sewer network in Taipei County, Taiwan, with lengths varying from 73 to 126 m. The main factors which affect the jacking loads during tunnelling may include (1) overcut annulus and volume of injected lubricant, (2) work stoppages, (3) geology, and (4) misalignment. In the four pipe-jacking drives, the jacking forces are represented using the baseline technique. The pipe-jacking results show that the local variations (increasing or decreasing) of jacking force are ascribed to the varying face resistance due to driving between coarse soil and fine soil governed sand or gravel deposit or driving into and away from a buried wooden log. The increase in the jacking loads could also be due to the increasing friction resistance resulting from the pipe deviation being greater than a threshold value of 60 mm. Excessive injected volumes of lubricant result in very low pipe frictions incurred during pipe-jacking of the four drives and are reflected through the back-analysed μavg values which vary from 0.02 to 0.09. The jacking load increases due to either overnight stoppages or short breaks are more pronounced in poorly graded gravel or sand deposit than in clayey gravel or clayey sand deposit.
Pipe jacking and microtunnelling are important trenchless construction techniques that are seeing increasing application globally. The maximum length achievable with a single pipe jacking drive has a strong dependency on the skin friction resistance that develops over the pipeline surface as it advances through the soil. Bentonite or polymer slurries are commonly injected into the soil from ports on the surface of the pipe with the intention of reducing this skin friction resistance and allowing for longer drives with lower jacking force requirements. Field studies have shown that this procedure can achieve reductions in skin friction resistance of up to 90%, however the exact mechanism by which these slurries act is not fully understood. This paper presents the results of a series of interface friction tests carried out to investigate this resistance using a conventional direct shear device and a novel triaxial testing apparatus, where a lubricant was injected into the interface between a coarse-grained soil and a rough concrete surface similar to a concrete jacking pipe, while the soil was shearing against the rough concrete surface. It is shown that, for coarse-grained soils, the main beneficial mechanism of pipe jacking lubricants is the reduction of the local effective stress acting on the pipe through the generation and retention of excess pore water pressure in the soil near the interface.
This paper outlines methods for estimating the jacking forces associated with different types of microtunnelling operations. These methods have been developed using probably the most extensive database of microtunnelling jacking forces assembled to date. These data were collected by questionnaire in Japan as part of an initiative by the International Society for Trenchless Technology (ISTT) and coordinated by the Japanese Society for Trenchless Technology (JSTT). Methods for predicting jacking force are produced for slurry, auger and push-in type microtunnelling operations. Separate methods are suggested for these techniques as it was found that the jacking force is sensitive to the method of installation. The methods can also take into account the soil type found on a particular project. However, sensitivity of the measured jacking force to other factors, such as soil strength and depth of installation, were not included in these predictive methods as no discernible relationships could be established due to the variability in the data.Examples from two case histories, one involving a 1.0 m nominal diameter slurry microtunnelling machine in dense silty sand and the second involving a 500 mm nominal diameter microtunnelling machine in sand and gravel, are presented which use the equations proposed in this paper. The results from these examples show that the predicted jacking forces are comparable to those measured in the field.This paper therefore presents practical and reliable methods of predicting jacking forces associated with microtunnelling projects.
This paper is intended to describe an Italian case study of a microtunnelling project where the boring machine got stuck during jacking of a 760mm pipe in a limestone formation. Reference is made to rock mass characterisation, including site investigations and laboratory tests. The machine’s performance is compared to prediction. To allow for a better understanding of the conditions which led to the unexpectedly high jacking forces, continuum and discontinuum numerical analyses have been used. These analyses are shown to be essential at the design stage, when dealing with microtunnelling in a rock mass, in order to obtain a good prediction of the jacking forces.
Lubricants are frequently applied in pipe-jacking, especially under difficult geological conditions or in cases of a longer alignment. The main purpose of lubricant application is to reduce the friction between pipe and soil. However, it is very difficult to quantitatively determine the real contact conditions between the two. New technology for soil–pipe interaction measurement is still scarce and requires further development. Only indirect methods are available for practical measurement of soil–pipe interaction, and engineering judgment is required for the application of those measurements. In this study, a simple test method was applied to obtain the frictional properties of the most popular lubricants in the Taiwan area. Those frictional properties were used for jacking force estimation and numerical analysis of soil–pipe interaction for linear and curved pipe-jacking. The analyses of jacking force show that reduction in jacking force is closely related to reduction in friction coefficients, and the effect of lubrication is slightly more significant in the case of curved alignment than the case of linear alignment. In addition, a study of a 400-m linear pipe-jacking case in the Taichung Science Park shows overestimation of the jacking force by an empirical formula. It reveals the reduction in pipe-soil contact area induced by over-cutting is significant for pipe-jacking in gravel formations.