A CutFEM based framework for numerical simulations of machine driven tunnels with arbitrary alignments

Bui, H.-G. and Schillinger, D. and Zendaki, Y. and Meschke, G.

Volume: 144 Pages:
DOI: 10.1016/j.compgeo.2022.104637
Published: 2022

We describe a novel computational framework based on the cut finite element method (CutFEM) for process-oriented simulation in mechanized tunneling. The framework incorporates all relevant components required for the simulation of the tunnel advance process, namely the ground, the staged installation of the lining support, the tail void grouting and the tunnel boring machine. We demonstrate that CutFEM concepts can significantly facilitate the modeling, discretization and coupling of the different components, while maintaining the same accuracy as the standard boundary-fitted finite element method. The proposed CutFEM technology, which is being applied and investigated in the context of advancement simulations in mechanized tunneling for the first time, enables the seamless analysis of an arbitrary number of different tunnel alignment variants on the same structured background mesh without the need to set up a new model for each variant. This is a shift of paradigm in simulation-supported tunnel design, as the CutFEM based framework considerably facilitates a direct integration of geometric, building information and simulation models in early stages of a tunnel project. The simulation model allows for the damage assessment of the buildings during tunnel advancement with regards to different excavation scenarios, as shown in the numerical examples in this paper. © 2022 Elsevier Ltd

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