Design and Optimization of Tunnel Boring Machines by Simulating the Cutting Rock Process using the Discrete Element Method

Roberto C. Medel-Morales, Salvador Botello-Rionda


Nowadays there is a large number of tunneling
projects in progress, mainly in Europe, both for roads
and transport supplies. Performance prediction of tunnel
boring machines (TBM) and the determination of some
design parameters have become crucial, as they are
critical elements in planning a project of mechanical
excavation. In this paper we use the Discrete Element
Method (DEM) to build models which simulate the
rock cutting process under a cutting disk and measure
the interaction between forces and hard rock essential
in the design of TBM. The DEM is an appropriate
tool for modeling geomaterials; it is assumed that a
solid material can be represented by a collection of
rigid particles interacting with each other in the normal
and tangential directions. The particles are linked by
cohesive forces which can break and simulate fracture


Tunnel boring machine, cutting disc, lineal cutting test, cohesion.

Full Text: PDF