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RETC2007.

bk Page 215 Thursday, April 19, 2007 1:48 PM

EPB TUNNEL BORING MACHINE DESIGN
FOR BOULDER CONDITIONS
Michael A. DiPonio
Jay Dee-Michels-Traylor JV

David Chapman
Lachel, Felice & Associates

Craig Bournes
Lovat, Inc.

ABSTRACT
Historically, boulders are a frequent source of problems in soft ground tunneling.
During tunnel construction, the need to manually break and remove boulders as
obstructions causes delays to the project. Repairs to a tunnel boring machine (TBM)
can also be a source of delays.
Managing these problems is difficult since normal soil investigation techniques do
not accurately predict the presence or frequency of boulders. This has lead to considerable number of claims for extra costs and delays during the construction of soft
ground tunneling projects. These issues are exacerbated in pressurized face tunneling
systems where there is limited access to the TBM cutterhead for obstruction removal
and/or cutterhead maintenance.
The project team that built the Big Walnut Augmentation/Rickenbacker Interceptor
(BWARI) Project for the City of Columbus successfully managed the design and construction of a 4,267 mm (14 ft) diameter soft ground tunnel with high boulder concentrations in a complex geologic setting. The management of the boulder issue took
place during several phases of the project.
BOULDER INVESTIGATION
Geologic research and reconnaissance early in the project indicated that boulders
were a major issue for the project. The project setting is the Till Plains Physiographic
Province, where thick sheets of glacial till cover deep buried valleys filled with glacial
outwash from earlier glaciations. The till is weathered and oxidized at the ground surface, but at tunnel depth it is extremely compact (unit weight of 140–145 pcf) with a
mixture of grain sizes encompassing the entire range of soil texture from clay sizes to
gravel with cobbles and boulders. The glacial outwash also includes concentrations of
cobbles and boulders, particularly at contact zones atop till sheets. Although not
detected in very many of the standard split spoon borings, boulders excavated from
fields and house cellar holes can be observed guarding driveways at numerous locations in the surrounding countryside.
It was recognized that characterizing the boulder fraction of the ground would be
a critical element of the geotechnical investigation and development of the Geotechnical Baseline Report and other components of the contract document package, particularly related to risk allocation. In addition, recovery of continuous samples using
rotasonic boring techniques showed the extreme nature of the stratification which is

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and boulders were cored to obtain samples from which to determine the range of compressive strengths. and Settlement Control Factors. mixed face conditions such as flowable granular soils in the tunnel crown overlying hard.bk Page 216 Thursday. SPECIFICATION OF TUNNEL BORING MACHINE In conjunction with the provisions of the Geotechnical Baseline Report. the appropriateness of presenting the boulder baselines was debated. development of the specification for the TBM was given careful attention relative to risk management for the project. that in itself demonstrating their resistance to destruction. (2001). The geotechnical investigation for the project was documented in Frank and Chapman. resistant materials lower in the tunnel face. As expected. It was eventually decided to present the information as a means of communicating the potential magnitude of the boulder fraction to the contractor.” (GBR. Another was provided by the fortuitous presence of a gravel mining operation adjacent to a portion of the tunnel route. and low ground cover areas. It can be seen that these factors describe such characteristics as extremely coarse grained soils. it would not be possible to count the boulders or to know if the baseline was exceeded. 2007 1:48 PM 216 2007 RETC PROCEEDINGS not as accurately depicted using standard split spoon borings with the normal 5-foot sampling interval and potential loss of samples in wet granular soils or if a gravel particle becomes lodged in the split spoon. 2003) Subsurface conditions along the tunnel route were interpreted and summed to estimate total expected footages and distribution by stationing along the tunnel to which the defined conditions applied. The factors were divided into “TBM Selection Factors” and “Tunnel Face.RETC2007. since with the planned tunneling methods.5 m (5-foot) vertical interval. Ground. In addition. Compressive strengths ranged up to nearly 45.000 psi. During development of the contract documents.067 mm (42 inches) from which the large cobble fraction (rock retained on a 152 mm (6-inch) grid) was separated for volume determination within each 1. May. It was reasoned that these descriptions would help the contractor to visualize the range of challenging conditions and their extent to aid in selection of tunneling equipment as well as in planning of tunneling procedures and selection of ground conditioning agents. The tunnel design engineers recommended purchase of a new tunnel boring machine to ensure the capabilities required to provide the best possible . glacial till. the layering detected in the rotasonic borings was interpreted and several important trends were identified and were also presented as “geotechnical factors. 2005). PRESENTATION OF GROUND CONDITIONS IN THE GBR The boulder quantification described by Frank and Chapman (2005) is shown in Figure 1. In addition. April 19.” and presented graphically as per the excerpt shown in Figure 2. which afforded the opportunity to perform counting of boulders from 10 days production of gravel mined with a dragline and scalped over an 457 mm (18-inch) grizzly. These datasets were later used to develop a mathematical model for quantification of the boulder fraction for presentation in the Geotechnical Baseline Report (Frank and Chapman. rock type was determined for boulders in boulder stockpiles. One special measure taken for the characterization of the coarse fraction included the performance of large diameter borings 914 mm (36 inches) and 1.” determined to be “useful in TBM selection and in ensuring application of means and methods which result in ground and face control by the TBM in order to meet settlement requirements. many of the boulders were of igneous or metamorphic origin and were inferred to have been transported from the area of the Canadian Shield.

bk Page 217 Thursday. Geotechnical factors by station along centerline opportunity to successfully mine through all of the ground conditions. 2007 1:48 PM EPB-TBM DESIGN FOR BOULDER CONDITIONS 217 Figure 1. Boulder and cobble study results Figure 2. which meant that there were few if any existing machines in the required size range that had the specified range of capabilities. This was based on the challenges presented by the geologic environment and on the tunnel size. April 19.RETC2007. It was desired to level the playing field among bidders and ensure that the bidding would not be won by virtue of a marginally capable TBM that could not be rejected but that would potentially be ineffective under the difficult mining .

EPB was therefore considered to be technically superior because of the lesser degree of size reduction of boulders and cobbles required for muck ingestion by the EPB TBM as compared to the Slurry TBM. and obstructions (boulders exceeding 457 mm (18 inches) in dimension) of the number and size and in all conditions indicated in the Contract Documents without interruption of the excavation operations  Design the TBM to accommodate both ripper teeth and disc cutters capable of cutting and removing boulders. e. This recommendation was accepted by the City of Columbus and new TBMs were specified for both Part 1 and Part 2 of the project. we were unable to quantify any advantage in the operational cost of Slurry tunneling vs. Limiting the specification to slurry machines was considered as well.000 for the project. build and maintain the TBM to operate in all ground conditions indicated in the Contract Documents. Inc. EPB was deemed to be the most cost effective. TBM DESIGN AND PROCUREMENT During the bidding stage for the project. Consideration was given to the provision of differential contingency levels for EPB versus slurry machines. the South Bay Ocean Outfall Tunnel.  Fit the TBM with a compressed air lock(s) and associated compressed air equipment designed of 3 bars (45 psi) of working air pressure  Design the TBM to be capable of excavating through ground containing cobbles. As such. This concept was based on the views of some that this might help to balance the higher cost of slurry machines and potentially permit slurry machines to be more competitive. There was a substantial cost advantage to the EPB for the procurement of the TBM and the support systems for each tunneling process. small boulders. Further. A rear discharge screw conveyor was adopted to minimize locations that a large particle could hung-up. the ability to pass large sized particles and robust cutterhead and drive system.g. A center stem auger was used instead of an open center or ribbon auger. of Toronto. These concepts were both ultimately rejected based on previous successful completion (in North America) of tunnels in difficult granular conditions with EPB machines. Ribbon augers can pass larger sized particles for the same screw diameter.RETC2007. Canada. The Slurry TBM alternative would require any soil particles larger than 152 mm (6 inches) to be reduced to this size. April 19. According to some recognized European standards the geotechnical conditions pointed strongly to the Slurry TBM approach. The main emphasis of the TBM design was building a machine with high torque. It was considered by most involved with the design that the specifications should allow either an earth pressure balance (EPB) or slurry machine. The diameter of the screw conveyor was maximized to gain the ability to pass large sized rocks. Highlights of the tunnel specifications included:  Slurry or EPB TBM allowed  Design TBM for 3 bar operating pressure  Design. 2007 1:48 PM 218 2007 RETC PROCEEDINGS conditions.. EPB tunneling that would offset the higher initial outlay for the Slurry TBM. In addition to anticipated boulder quantities exceeding 7. The Contractor selected an EPB TBM designed and manufactured by Lovat. there were concerns about this design’s ability to . the contractor team of Jay Dee–Michels– Traylor Joint Venture considered both Slurry and EPB TBMs. Additionally.bk Page 218 Thursday. This design however was not considered to be sufficiently robust for this application. the number of cobbles larger than 152 mm (6 inches) were projected in the hundreds of thousands.

There were an additional 6 mounts for ripper teeth only. The 150 hp electric motors were controlled with variable frequency drives (VFD) such that the cutterhead could be rotated at speeds from 0 to 3. Another deviation from the original Contract Specification involved raising the screw location off the bottom of the cutterhead chamber.200 hp drive was an increase from the 900 hp drive that was included in Lovat’s original proposal. thereby reducing the number of rocks that would have to be broken before they could be ingested by the TBM. With the screw conveyor positioned within the interior of the bearing. Further. The cutterhead drive was configured with eight 150 hp electric motors coupled through mechanical gearboxes to pinions engage the main gear at eight locations. it was identified during testing of soil conditioners for the project that the larger soil fraction (cobbles and boulder fragments) would sink to the bottom when left undisturbed for a few hours. the screw would get buried under a pile of large rocks during a shutdown. airlocks mounted in the tunnel behind the TBM would be used if compressed air was necessary for cutterhead maintenance. more robust bearing with more drive locations could be incorporated into the design. The 1. This drive system was selected over a more common hydraulic drive system due to the increased efficiency of the electric direct drive. After considerable consideration. The small pressure reservoir afforded by the TBM mounted airlock would subject workers in the pressurized environment to injury from a sudden pressure drop during such an event in addition to the threat from water and soil inflows. If compressed air was needed for cutterhead entry.bk Page 219 Thursday. April 19. The 14 outer-most cutter positions were oriented to be redundant such that multiple cutters cut the same kerf. This had several advantages. 2007 1:48 PM EPB-TBM DESIGN FOR BOULDER CONDITIONS 219 achieve a soil plug that would withstand the hydrostatic head throughout the high permeability reaches along the alignment. This will be discussed later in this paper. All cutter mounts were designed as rear loading for cutter replacement from within the cutterhead chamber. The Contractor requested and was allowed to deviate from the original Contract Document requirements for airlocks mounted to the TBM and for the location of the screw conveyor at bottom of the cutterhead chamber. a larger. With the screw conveyor positioned at the bottom of the cutterhead chamber. This could create a condition with resumption of tunneling that would require considerable effort by the screw to re-mix the separated large fraction with the balance of the soil in the cutterhead chamber. The room afforded by removing the airlock from the TBM allowed for the screw diameter to be increased by at least 152 mm (6 inches). Locating the screw at the bottom of the cutterhead chamber requires it to be positioned outside of the cutterhead drive. The VFD’s also allowed for startup of the electric motors while directly connected to the cutterhead without a substantial rise in amperage in the electrical system.RETC2007. The cutterhead was designed with 32 cutter mounts that could be interchanged in the field from ripper teeth to disc cutters. Having the screw located up off the bottom allowed for the rotating cutterhead structure to pass beneath the screw and sweep the pile of rocks up off the bottom so that they could be redistributed throughout the conditioned soil paste. it was determined that there was substantial risk for sudden air loss through the highly permeable sand and gravel deposits. There has been considerable debate amongst the Contractor’s team and generally throughout the industry on the proper cutters for dealing with boulders in soft ground. These disc cutters were redundant to rippers . There has been considerable use of disc cutters in soft ground applications on slurry TBMs. However their use on EPB TBM applications is in dispute.4 rpm. Instead. During the course of tunneling a substantial benefit was identified from the contribution of the increased inertia of the rotating cutterhead with the direct coupling of the electric motors to the cutterhead. it was determined to configure the TBM with six disc cutters located at or near the gauge of the TBM.

. April 19. The remaining cutter mounts were outfitted with ripper teeth. The TBM operator could identify when the ripper was worn or broke to expose the end of this hole by it inability to maintain hydraulic pressure. The TBM was christened ‘Mary Margaret’ and shipped to the Columbus for assembly and launch. one of three cutter positions that cut the gauge. The 915 mm (36 inch) diameter screw conveyor had center stem auger that was able to readily convey rocks up to 305 mm (12 inch) diameter. It was then plumbed with a hydraulic line back to the TBM operator’s controls. A 6 mm (1⁄4-inch) diameter hole was drilled to within 25 mm (1 inch) of the end of the ripper. Further. The openings through the cutterhead were equipped with closure doors that could be activated to fully breast the face during cutterhead maintenance. The cutterhead was armored with 19-mm (3⁄4-inch) thick chromium carbide plate. was outfitted with a hydraulic wear detection system.RETC2007. These included the addition of chromium carbide plating on the interior surface of the cutterhead chamber and surrounding the EPB sensors. Three grizzly bars mounted across each of the cutterhead openings prevented passage of rocks larger than what could pass through the auger (Figure 4). A diagram of the cutterhead as configured in shown as Figure 3. TBM PERFORMANCE The Contractor made some minor configuration changes to the TBM during assembly on site. The outer-most ripper tooth.bk Page 220 Thursday. 2007 1:48 PM 220 2007 RETC PROCEEDINGS Figure 3. TBM cutterhead configuration that cut the same kerf and would operate as back-up cutters to ensure that the gauge was cut in the event the ripper cutters were damaged from a large boulder that may be only partially into the tunnel face.

One of these disc cutters is shown in the photo of the front of the TBM at manhole #2 as Figure 5. During the first 1. proved to be useless. At that manhole the two discs that engaged the ground were worn flat.) The six disc cutters that were mounted on the cutterhead. After the ripper cutter was broken. the soil conditioning swivel was found to be damaged and soil conditioner was being injected into the chamber behind the cutterhead instead of in front of the cutterhead.000 ft) of tunneling one-third of all the ripper cutters were being broken by boulders. This occurred at one location on the project where the wear indicator ripper showed that the gauge rippers needed replacement when we were approximately 30 m (100 ft) from a manhole location. In order to predict the cutterhead maintenance intervals.829 m (6. The wear of the rippers could be predicted and cutter changes could be scheduled. This was indicated by the outside cutters wearing at a faster rate than the inside cutters. The operator was trained to condition the muck at rate such that the muck at the discharge point would closely resemble fresh concrete as is exits a transit mix truck. Soil conditioning was applied at the TBM operator’s discretion to optimize the TBM’s performance. A large proportion of the ripper cutters were breaking from impacts with boulders. It was decided to wait until the manhole was reached before changing cutters. there were several other factors that affected the cutter wear rate. After reaching the first manhole location where ready access to the cutterhead was available. This was partly due to the varying soil conditions. The rate of cutter . This meant that they didn’t engage undisturbed soil unless the adjacent ripper teeth were gone. the rippers that cut the adjacent kerfs would wear at an advanced rate. April 19. A representative sample of this data plot is shown in Figure 6.RETC2007. the amount of cutter wear was recorded during cutterhead maintenance and this data was plotted against the distance that the cutter traveled since it was last replaced. TBM profile showing screw conveyor position Two of the three grizzly bars were removed to help prevent rocks from nesting in the cutterhead openings and causing a blockage. They were recessed from the engagement point of the ripper teeth by approximately 102 mm (4 inches). The relationship varied from one maintenance interval to the next. The ripper cutters wore at a rate that was proportional to the distance that each cutter traveled. A general relationship was identified by this plot. (This was later determined to be ill advised in that it led to the screw becoming plugged with an oversized rock on two occasions.bk Page 221 Thursday. 2007 1:48 PM EPB-TBM DESIGN FOR BOULDER CONDITIONS 221 Figure 4. A major consideration in controlling the soil conditioning was the appearance of the excavated muck as it discharged from the screw conveyor. whereas ripper breakage was unpredictable. however. Another factor affecting the cutter wear rate was the application of soil conditioners.

Eventually inspection doors to the screw .bk Page 222 Thursday. A considerable amount of time was expended in trying to regain rotation of the auger such that the rock could either be pulled through the auger or ejected back into the cutterhead chamber. Two of these instances were caused by boulders that were too large to pass getting lodged within the screw conveyor and preventing the auger from rotating. The screw conveyor generally performed well in handling large cobbles and boulder fragments. This proves one of many major benefits of soil conditioning in EPB tunneling. the reduction in the cutter wear rate. There were three instances where considerable downtime was caused by jamming of the screw conveyor. April 19.RETC2007. 2007 1:48 PM 222 2007 RETC PROCEEDINGS Figure 5. Front of TBM at manhole #2 Figure 6. Ripper cutter wear wear through this reach of the tunnel was 3 times that of the remainder of the tunnel.

2007 1:48 PM EPB-TBM DESIGN FOR BOULDER CONDITIONS 223 were opened. When tunneling was resumed after this event the lack of fines caused the screw conveyor to lock up. The third instance of downtime from screw jamming occurred after a prolonged cutterhead maintenance period in wet sand and gravel face conditions. EPB sensor cells removed and ultimately small holes were cut through the conveyor casing to locate the rock. These new adaptor boxes began to crack with one of them failing entirely. The rate of wear for the outside cutters was reduced with the addition of the ripper cutters mounted in the locations that were previously occupied by the disc cutters. Several different ripper designs were tested utilizing modified shapes and various high strength/high wear resistant materials. When the jammed screw was freed. a remedy to this problem was researched. It was then drilled and blasted with explosives in its position within the screw. A considerable amount of fine soil particles would be washed in with this water. April 19. Entry into the cutterhead was in areas of high permeability if the water head was not severe (less than 6 m (20 feet) above tunnel crown). This change-over could not be performed from within the cutterhead. The second rock was lodged in the same location within the screw but attempts to break it mechanically failed. The new adaptor boxes had thinner walls to accommodate the larger rippers. 50lb bags of bentonite were added to the cutterhead chamber when tunneling resumed to create a soil paste that could flow through the muck system without separation. After a considerable effort to free the screw with various methods of soil conditioning injection. leaving only the coarse fraction remaining in front of the TBM. It was reasoned that the shortened rippers would have a lesser tendency to break and the extra wear length was not necessary since the travel distance for these teeth is considerably less than the gauge cutters. The screw was loaded with cobbles—no sand or gravel at all. Personnel would enter the cutterhead and perform cutter replacement on the upper part of the cutterhead as the screw conveyor was operated as an Archimedes pump to control the water level in the chamber. The screw conveyor performed with-out any lock-ups after this change. It was decided to increase the size of the ripper cutters. None of these showed good results. The ripper size increase was very successful. Once the first rock was located. so the modification was implemented at the second access manhole crossing (S/M #3) which was 2. The resulting gravel readily passed through the auger. Once it was identified that ripper cutter breakage was occurring at a high rate.585 ft) into the drive. In these locations. The remaining disk cutters were replaced with ripper teeth as well.bk Page 223 Thursday. Ultimately . The original cutters were made of high strength steel with a cross section of 64 mm × 140 mm (2-1⁄2" × 5-1⁄2"). These larger rippers required the installation of new adaptor boxes that fit into the mounting for the disc cutter. Ripper cutter breakage was reduced from one third of the rippers breaking to less than one out of twenty rippers breaking. The remaining 14 inner-most ripper cutters were shortened by 51 mm (2 inches). The water inflow would typically be 200 to 700 gpm. These rippers were changed to larger rippers having a cross section of 76 mm × 152 mm (3" × 6"). The outer-most 18 of the 32 cutter mounts that are interchangeable with disc cutters were replaced with adaptor boxes for the larger ripper cutters. a corner of the rock was broken off with a rivet buster which allowed it to pass through the screw.007 m (6. ADJUSTMENTS MADE DURING TUNNELING At the first manhole crossing (S/M #2) all of the grizzly bars were re-installed to prevent rocks larger than could be handled by the screw from passing through the cutterhead. the cutterhead and screw were opened up and manually mucked out. the face doors would be closed and the cutterhead chamber depressurized.RETC2007.

The rippers would now engage about 25 mm (1 inch) of undisturbed soil per revolution instead of 38 mm (1-1⁄2 inches). but it is debatable if boulders can be cut effectively with disc cutters.875 m (6.2 m (4 feet) of concrete slurry wall. ANALYSIS OF PERFORMANCE As mentioned earlier. In order . although this was not likely to happen on this project anyway.000 feet) sand and glacial till including cutting through more than 1.bk Page 224 Thursday. the adaptor boxes were welded directly to the cutterhead structure. A chart showing the cutterhead maintenance intervals is shown in Figure 7. 2007 1:48 PM 224 2007 RETC PROCEEDINGS Figure 7. A picture of the front of the TBM after hole thru is shown in Figure 8. Of further note. but further analysis indicates that the higher speed added to the momentum of the high inertia cutterhead drive. While tunneling through the areas with 100% sands and gravels and less than 10% fines the TBM was able to advance at its maximum rate with less than 75% of its full torque.485 m (14. This allowed the ripper cutters to take a smaller ‘bite’ with each pass. TBM ripper cutter change locations after 4. This is discussed later in the paper.000ft).715 ft) into the drive at the fifth manhole crossing (S/M #6). The TBM operator increased the cutterhead rotation rate from 1. the project locations that possessed the coarsest soils which were considered by many as being well beyond the capabilities of EPB and the basis for recommending the use of slurry methods. The modifications made during the tunneling drive reduced the amount of downtime required for cutterhead maintenance. there was a great deal of discussion regarding the appropriate dress of cutting tools that should be applied to the cutterhead. Disc cutters are the standard tool for cutting rock.3 rpm. The higher rotation rate would increase the amount of cutter and component wear but would lend to the reduction in cutter breakage. Single disc cutters are known to perform better than multiple disc cutters for this reason.RETC2007. In addition to the configuration changes made to the cutter head. This increased momentum would increase the impact load on the engaged boulders thereby increase the TBM’s capacity to break the boulders. This eliminated the possibility of changing these rippers cutters to disc cutters while the TBM was in the ground. Disc cutters break rock by loading the rock at the contact point sufficiently high to create shear stresses on either side of the contact point. The average cutter change frequency was reduced from approximately one cutterhead maintenance per 152 m (500 ft) to less than one cutterhead maintenance per 914 m (3. It was not identified at the time. This picture shows the excellent condition of the cutterhead after only one cutterhead maintenance event while tunneling through more than 1. April 19. were areas that the TBM achieved its best performance. the operation of the TBM was adjusted.7 rpm to 2.

The question is which style of hammer will readily survive the impact. If the rock is not held securely it will either be pushed through the ground until it is either pushed aside or it will eventually be broken up by repeated impacts from the cutterhead or other rocks. multiple disc cutters are frequently used. April 19. however. it too will impact the rock as the cutterhead rotates. it will wear flat and fail. The use of disc cutters in soft ground requires a reduced preload on the bearings in the cutter such that the cutter can be readily turned by hand. . The EPB muck also enhances the possibility that the disc will get soil particles lodges between the sides of the disc and cutterhead structure causing it to stop turning. Both tools can act as a hammer to break the rock. the ability of the soil matrix to hold the rock in place such that the rock can be cut may be possible in many instances but it is not common. would you use knife to cut it or a hammer to break it? When a disc cutter encounters a boulder in a soft ground matrix. There less efficient cutters are also used to minimize the side loading on the cutter bearings that can result from either a glancing impact on a single disc cutter or from the rock shifting during the impact. an EPB mucking system does not require the rocks to be broken into chip size fragments. In soft ground tunneling. When the disc cutter breaks the rock. These small fragments can be effectively digested in a slurry mucking system.RETC2007. In order to stabilize the rock and keep it from shifting position. When a ripper cutter encounters a boulder in a soft ground matrix. when engaged against a soft ground matrix there will not be sufficient frictional forces for the cutter to roll across that matrix. it produces relatively small fragments or chips. TBM front at Shaft 8 for disc cutters to perform effectively in soft ground with boulders the rock has to be held in place with sufficient security such that the point load from the cutter can mobilize the shear stresses in the rock for it to break. the disc will impact the rock as the cutterhead rotates.bk Page 225 Thursday. In EPB tunneling this issue is worse since the excavated paste that fills the chamber behind the cutter will provide additional rolling resistance than if the cutterhead chamber was empty (as in non-pressurized face TBM) or filled with liquid (as in a slurry TBM). On this TBM the disc cutters require at least five times the effort to replace over that required for replacement of ripper cutters. If the disc doesn’t turn in contact with the ground. Boulders are usually broken by impact. Otherwise. If you have a boulder on the ground in front of you. 2007 1:48 PM EPB-TBM DESIGN FOR BOULDER CONDITIONS 225 Figure 8.

bk Page 226 Thursday. We did have a considerable amount of downtime for cutterhead repairs. Here is their analysis. An inspection of the muck identified many rock fragments that exhibited what appeared to be recent fracture surfaces. We were puzzled by the lack of boulder problems in terms of no shut-downs to clear obstructions.RETC2007. we did not find several fragments of identical rock that could be pieced together to identify its original size.’ There were continual torque variations during each advance with generally higher torque during pushes that the operator reported that he was engaging boulders. . The smaller rippers that were mounted on the TBM when it was originally configured did not have sufficient strength. We were unable to identify the number or size of these rocks. but there seemed to be no stopping of this machine. When these cutters were replaced with the larger cross section ripper cutters the tools were able to survive the impact. There were several instances where the TBM operator was able to identify that there were substantial rocks being engaged by the cutterhead. A sample of the rock fragments is shown in a photograph as Figure 9. We reviewed the data log of the TBM drive system on a regular basis to try to identify torque or amperage spikes that would be an indication of a boulder encounter. We were hoping to find a pattern in the data in the log that would occur during a boulder encounter that could be used as a ‘boulder signature. Could there be enough stored energy in the rotating cutterhead to break the rocks that we were encountering without the need to draw additional power? We asked the engineers from Lovat to analyze the inertial aspects of the drive. However. On one of these occasions we separated the muck from that push and spread the excavated material across the ground. but there was no identifiable boulder signature that could be used to identify a boulder encounter. April 19. This call never occurred. 2007 1:48 PM 226 2007 RETC PROCEEDINGS Figure 9. WHERE ARE THE BOULDERS? During the course of tunneling we awaited a call from the heading that the TBM had encountered a rock that has stopped the cutterhead and is unable to advance. Rock fragments In order for a ripper cutter to survive an impact with a boulder it must have sufficient strength to handle the impact loading.

JM = rotating parts mass moment of inertia.030 (kg·m )dω (3a) (4) .8) JMdω = (77.7)(kg·m2)dω = 140. equation (2) for RME193SE can be simplified to the following: t2 ∫t 1 2 R i F tan dt = 140. Tcut = Torque required to overcome CH cutting forces.023.RETC2007. moments and/or energy to overcome these resistances: t2 ∫t 1 R i F tan dt = J M dω (2) The right side in equation (2) can be elaborated for each TBM drive relative to the CH angular speed as shown in the following equations: (3) JMdω = (JCH + JMG + Nr1JGB + Nr2JEM)dωCH where: JCH = CH mass moment of inertia (for RME193SE JCH = 77.710.023.4 + 13.bk Page 227 Thursday. where: Ri = Equivalent radius of the tangential force.16 rad/s and maximum ωCH = 0.030(kg·m2)dω Therefore. Tinertia = Torque required to overcome inertia forces of the rotating components.7 + 48.82) r2 = Total MD gear ratio (for RME193SE r1 = 1.354 + 942.8 kg·m2) N = Number of drives in Main Drive (for RME193SE N = 8) r1 = Main gear ratio (for RME193SE r1 = 9. ω = angular velocity of rotating mass The following equation can be used to find forces.354 kg·m2) JGB = Gearbox equivalent mass moment of inertia (for RME193SE JGB =12 kg·m2) JEM = Electric motor rotor mass moment of inertia (for RME193SE JEM =5. In case of the incidental rapid increase of tangential resistance force (Ftan) on one of cutting tools caused by hard boulders.049.36 rad/s) JMG = Main Gear mass moment of inertia (for RME193SE JMG = 13.4 kg·m2) ωCH = angular velocity of CH (for RME193SE nominal ωCH = 0. 2007 1:48 PM EPB-TBM DESIGN FOR BOULDER CONDITIONS 227 INERTIA FACTOR IN BREAKING ROCK OR CUTTING TOOLS The total torque (Ttot) delivered to the TBM Cutting Head (CH) during mining is distributed as follows: (1) Ttot = Tinertia + Tresist + Tcut where: Tresist = Torque required to overcome friction forces resisting CH rotation. April 19. the angular impulse on the tool (Iang = RiFtandt) is generated by angular momentum AM = JM ω of all rotating components.

and Exploration. Frank. 491.023. .3 rpm will further increase the angular momentum. Glen and Chapman.. Colorado. Society for Mining. Littleton. Littleton.RETC2007. Inc. Frank.1. A New Model for Characterizing the Cobble and Boulder Fraction for Soft Ground Tunneling. The teeth should be sized to withstand the cutterhead drive torque plus the impact loading from the cutterhead momentum. such as the soil permeability and the hydrostatic head in that a large diameter screw may need to be longer to effect a soil plug that will dissipate the head without a blow-in. 2005 RETC Proceedings. Considering the operational change of increasing the rotation rate of the cutterhead from 1. This needs to be considered in coordination with other project parameters. Society for Mining. JMdω = (77. Geotechnical Investigations for Tunneling in Glacial Soils. Ohio.. the electrical motor inertial component is not present. Unless there is bedrock expected in the tunnel face. Metallurgy.4 + 13. April 19. David. Metallurgy. 2001 RETC Proceedings. pages 309–324.Rickenbacker Interceptor Sewer Project—City of Columbus. The resulting angular momentum would be reduced. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The support of the author’s employers is gratefully acknowledged. 2003. and Exploration. REFERENCES Geotechnical Baseline Report—Big Walnut Augmentation.354 + 942. Glen and Chapman. CIP No. May. David. 2007 1:48 PM 228 2007 RETC PROCEEDINGS In the case of a hydraulically driven cutterhead.1(kg·m2)dω The direct connection of the electric drive increases the angular momentum of the cutterhead drive system by more than 53%. CONCLUSION Maximize the particle size that can be ingested by the TBM by maximizing the screw diameter.bk Page 228 Thursday.320. The best tool for breaking rocks is a big hammer. An electric direct drive cutterhead provides the high inertia that a big hammer features when breaking rock. do not use disc cutters for cutting boulders with an EPB TBM.7)(kg·m2)dω (3b) = 91.7 rpm to 2. Colorado. pages 780–791. Inc.