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An Elasto-Viscoplastic Creep Model for Prediction of

Deformations Around Tunnels
Ahmad Fahimifar a, Mohammad Ghasemi b*, Mojtaba Karami c
a

Professor, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
b
Graduate Student, Tafresh University, Tafresh, Iran
c
Graduate Student, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran
*
Corresponding Author’s E-mail: mom_ghasemi@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT
By excavating an underground space, the state of stress and displacement in the surrounding
medium are changed in comparison to the inital state. As time passes, the variation of the displacement
mainly depends on the creep behaviour of the hosting rock mass. In this paper, an elasto-viscoplastic
creep model is proposed. In the proposed model, the main purpose is to consider plastic deformations
increasing with time. The viscoplastic behaviour of rocks plays a key role in the tunnelling works,
especially for deep tunnels subjected to large in situ stresses. Using non-linear Hoek-Brown yield
criterion in a creep model is the other important aim of this paper, which eliminates estimating specific
equivalent Mohr-Coulomb strength parameters from the Hoek-Brown parameters. The equations
related to the proposed model are derived and then, to reach a numerical solution of the equations, the
finite difference software (FLAC2D-FISH Editor) is used. The application of the proposed model is
illustrated through an example analyzed numerically using the finite difference software FLAC2D.
Keywords: Creep, Rock Mass Behaviour, Tunnel, Elasto-Viscoplastic model, Hoek-Brown Criterion

1. INTRODUCTION
Time-dependent responses of rock materials should be taken into account in many engineering
problems, such as long-term stability analysis of underground constructions (Zhou et al., 2008). The
tunnels excavated in rocks would considerably experience deformations increasing with time, that
might lead to a delayed failure of structures. According to the results of experimental researches and
the experience from engineering practices, many creep models have been proposed to predict the timedependent behaviour of rock mass of many different types. These models are divided into: classic
viscoelastic models, classic viscoplastic models, etc. Equations related to the proposed models are
based on different assumpions and conditions.
In the distant past, for the analysis of time-dependent behaviour, especially creep, linear creep
models were used (Jaeger and Cook, 1969). However, with such models the experimental results do
not agree with the theoretically obtained curves (Valsangkar and Gokhale, 1971). Nowadays, the
classic viscoelastic Burger model and the classic Burger-MC model are widely used by engineers to
predict time-dependent behaviour of rock especially in tunnelling works. Besides, these two models
are practical models which exist in the finite differenc software FLAC2D. The classic viscoelastic
models can be represented by a series of springs and dashpots which are connected in parallel and/or
in series (Kontogianni et al., 2005; Dai, 2004; Sakurai, 1978). The constitutive laws in the classic
viscoplastic models try to relate the current strain rate to the current stress (and/or stress rate) directly.
Particularly, the relationship between the deviatoric strain rate and the deviatoric stress (and/or stress
rate) can be schematically represented by a series of spring, dashpot and a plastic slider that connected
in parallel and/or in series (Guan et al., 2007).
At great depth, where the rock mass is subjected to large in situ stresses, the stress redistribution
may lead to the so called squeezing conditions (Barla, 1995). These conditions yield irreversible
deviatoric creep strains that develop during time at constant and eventually increasing rate, namely the

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for very deep excavations. is characterized by its cohesion c. the programmable language FISH (FLACish) helped to implement it indirectly in the medium of the software. This behaviour usually characterizes weak or altered rocks and. In this paper. creep diagram of the model and results of numerical analysis are compared with some practical models which exist in FLAC2D. 2007).1 The classic Burger-MC model The classic Burger-MC model consists of a Burger body. friction angle φ and dilation angle ψ . The viscoplastic behaviour of rocks has been widely discussed on the basis of experimental findings from laboratory or field investigations.. 1998. 2010). The constitutive equations of the Burger-MC model can be worked out as follows: Total strain rate: 1 Introducing the total strain rate . 2005). is connected in series with a plastic Mohr-Coulomb unit. a Maxwell unit is characterized by its shear modulus GM and viscosity ηM and a plastic Mohr-Coulomb unit. 2002). 1993. The Maxwell and Kelvin units do not carry volumetric stress and they only participate in carrying deviatoric stress. it can be experienced also in hard rocks (Dusseault and Fordham. Maxwell strain rate . Figure 1. 1994. alternatively. 1993. Cristescu and Hunsche. Schematical representation of Burger-MC creep model In the classic Burger-MC model a Kelvin unit is characterized by its shear modulus GK and viscosity ηK .secondary and tertiary creep stages (Sterpi and Gioda. constitutive modelling and numerical analysis (Ladanyi. The deviatoric behaviour is schematically illustrated in figure 1. with respect to powers and weaknesses of previous creep models and based on the classic Burger-MC model. In the proposed model both viscoelastic and viscoplastic deformations are considered and non-linear Hoek-Brown yield criterion is used. 2. The amount of the plastic strain rate is described by the flow rule governed by the plastic slider (Sterpi and Gioda. Kelvin strain rate and the plastic strain rate . For verification of the proposed model.s constitutive laws library. which is able to present the primary and seconary creep regions of rock masses (Fahimifar et al. the model is implemented in a special tunnel (engineering instance) and then. THE ELASTO-VISCOPLASTIC MODEL 2. an elasto-viscoplastic creep model is proposed. 2007): λ ∂Q ∂σ 291 2 . Although the proposed model is not included directly in the FLAC2D. Pellet et al. Cristescu and Gioda. The constitutive laws of the classic Burger-MC model are characterized by an elastoplastic volumetric behaviour and a viscoelasto plastic deviatoric behaviour. Malan..

the symbols and are the deviatoric stress and the deviatoric strain. 2004) The constitutive equations related to the classic Burger-MC model can predict deformation of rock as reversible primary and secondary creep associated with Kelvin and Maxwell unit. (Itasca FLAC . 2008). Q is the plastic potential. the yield criterion f and the plastic potential Q are formulated as: 2 Q σ σ 8 9 Where C is the material cohesion. K is the bulk modulus.The deviatoric behaviour of the Burger-MC model can be formulated as: + 3 2 4 Kelvin unit: 2 Maxwell unit: 2 5 2 Plastic Mohr-Coulomb unit: 3 6 And the volumetric behaviour is given by: K 7 In the above equations. is the friction. 2007). 2D 1 / 1 . otherwise it is equal to 0. The superscripts K and M refer to the Kelvin and Maxwell components of the corresponding variables. denotes time derivative. Inasmuch as. respectively and immediate plastic (irreversible) deformation by the Mohr-Coulomb unit.. So. σ and σ are the 1 / 1 . rock mass strength is a non-linear function of stress level. it is necessary to consider modelling of viscoplastic deformations. is the material dilation. and the superposed dot and are the deviatoric and volumetric plastic strain rates respectively. the empirical Hoek-Brown failure criterion accounts for this observation and it is the criterion most commonly employed to characterize failure of rock masses in tunnelling projects (Jimenez et al. For the plastic Mohr-Coulomb unit. So it would be better to utilize non-linear Hoek-Brown criterion istead of Mohr-Coulomb criterion as a 292 . and is the total stress. especially for deep tunnels subjected to large in situ stresses for which squeezing conditions may develop (Sterpi and Gioda. experimental studies on creep behaviour of rocks show that irreversible creep deformation considerably icreases with time. But. minimum and maximum principal stresses (compression negative). is a multiplier and is the kronoker parameter which is equal to 1 in a condition of i=j. respectively.

In the proposed model the Burger body (a Kelvin and a Maxwell unit in series) is connected in series with a viscoplastic unit.2 The elasto-viscoplastic model In order to model creep behaviour of rocks. S and the dilation angle ψ . The constitutive equations of the proposed model can be worked out as follows: Total strain rate: 10 .1. 1999). Figure 2. Malan (Malan. Inasmuch as. For instance. 2006. Malan. 2. creep deformation of rocks is considered to be both reversible and irreversible. As mentioned in section 2. The deviatoric behaviour of the proposed model is schematically illustrated in figure 2. The viscoplastic unit consists of a dashpot element which is connected in parallel with a plastic Hoek-Brown slider element. a Maxwell unit is characterized by its shear modulus GM and viscosity ηM and a viscoplastic unit consists of a dashpot which is characterized by its viscosity ηvp and a plastic Hoek-Brown slider which is characterized by its strength parameters mb . 2007): λ ∂Q ∂σ The deviatoric behaviour of the proposed model can be formulated as: Total strain rate: 293 11 . Kelvin strain rate and the Introducing the total strain rate viscoplastic strain rate . The constitutive laws of the proposed model are characterized by an elastoplastic volumetric behaviour and an elasto-viscoplastic deviatoric behaviour. reversible and irreversible deformations increasing with time. many researchers have been used the slider element in parallel with the viscous element to predict viscoplastic deformations of rocks (Tomanovic. 2007. The amount of the viscoplastic strain rate is described by the flow rule governed by the plastic slider (Sterpi and Gioda. Sterpi and Gioda. in this paper a new elasto-viscoplastic creep model is proposed which considers immediate deformations. In this paper.yield surface in a creep model. Maxwell strain rate . 1999) used a viscoplastic unit (consists of a Mohr-Coulomb plastic slider and of a dashpot element which are connected in parallel) by simply connecting it in series with an elastic spring element so the final model was composed of the spring element to represent the instantaneous deformation and of the viscoplastic unit to produce time. Schematical representation of the proposed model In the proposed model a Kelvin unit is characterized by its shear modulus GK and viscosity ηK . time-dependent irreversible deformations are produced using a viscoplastic unit consists of a Hoek-Brown plastic slider and of a dashpot element which are connected in parallel.F. D. the Maxwell and Kelvin units do not carry volumetric stress and they only participate in carrying deviatoric stress.dependent deformation.

is the material dilation. The FISH function calculates the value of c and φ for each zone in every step. 2004). K is the bulk modulus. the Where C and viscoplastic strain rate component can be computed by the flow rule described in Eq. and For the plastic Hoek-Brown slider. is implemented in finite difference software FLAC2D using the built-in FISH language for constitutive models. the parameter will be determined as: 1 1 2 1 2C 18 are the instantaneous values of and . is a multiplier and is the kronoker parameter which is equal to 1 in a condition of i=j. is the uniaxial compressive strength of the intact rock material. Thus. It is noted that the instantaneous values of c and φ calculated in this way closely match those calculated using Hoek’s (Hoek. Now that the is computed. Q is the plastic potential. the values of c and φ will also change. σ and σ are the minimum and maximum principal stresses 1 / 1 . is the total stress. The superscripts K and M refer to the Kelvin and Maxwell components of the corresponding variables. the symbols and are the deviatoric stress and the deviatoric strain. and are the deviatoric and volumetric plastic strain rates respectively.12 + The Maxwell and Kelvin strain rate incorporated on Eq.1. otherwise it is equal to 0. Finally by application of the plastic yield condition (f = 0) . and the superposed dot denotes time derivative.6: 294 . as σ changes. Dashpot: 13 2 Plastic Hoek-Brown slider: 14 3 And the volumetric behaviour is given by: K 15 In the above equations. The proposed model which is illustrated in figure 2. The programmable language FISH offers an environment to user to introduce a new function or constitutive model that could work in such a way that the built-in constitutive models could. respectively.5 are equal to what described in Eq. 1990) expressions based on normal and shear stress (Itasca FLAC2D. the yield criterion f and the plastic potential Q with respect to non-associated flow rule are formulated as: 16 Q σ σ 17 Where mb and S are the strength parameters. (compression negative).

Inasmuch as. mi: the Hoek-Brown strength parameter of intact rock. 295 . The problem concerns the full face excavation. at a rate of 6m/day. Creep parameters of the hosting rock mass and the strength parameters of rock are presented in Table 1. η : the Maxwell viscosity .01 0. G : the Kelvin shear modulus. Creep parameters of rock mass used in the present study K(MPa) GM (MPa) ηM (Mpa. subjected to an isotropic state of stress =10 MPa. : the rock mass compressive strength. PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF THE PROPOSED MODEL TO A TUNNELLING PROBLEM The potential applicability of the proposed model is tested through an example (Sterpi and Gioda. strength parameters of the hosting rock mass (Sterpi and Gioda. Table 2. For the higher stress level where the plastic limit condition is satisfied. As long as the stress level is below the threshold described by the slider element. 2007) in the medium of the finite difference software FLAC2D. ηK: the Kelvin viscosity.day) 678 321555 1470 M GK (MPa) ηK (Mpa. the Hoek-Brown strength parameters of the hosting rock mass are derived (Hoek and Brown.day) 1651 K K: the Bulk modulus.5 m. mb: the Hoek-Brown strength parameter of rock mass. 3. G : the Maxwell shear modulus. Figure 3 shows the geometric and boundary conditions of this tunnel. respectively. : the dilation angle. This corresponds to a tunnel depth of approximately 400 m. 2007) are in terms of Mohr-Coulomb strength parameters. Table 1. ηvp: the viscoplastic viscosity. in a homogeneous. the viscoplastic unit calculates the plastic strain which is added to the elastic Burger strain resulting total elastoviscoplastic strain. the proposed model behaves like the viscoelastic Burger model.004 15.day) 5848 49470 M ηvp(Mpa. S: the Hoek-Brown strength parameter of rock mass. The numerical analysis considers a creep time of 365 days. 1997). of a circular tunnel of radius R =4. and Table 2. Strength parameters of rock used in the present study GSI mi (MPa) 50 12 13 mb S 2. isotropic rock mass.λ 19 0 20 λ 21 The governing equations of the constitutive model are implemented in numerical software FLAC2D using the built-in language FISH function for the constitutive model.4 GSI: Geological Strength Index.

Burger-MC and the proposed model. as time passes the shear strains of these two models increase with an approximate same rate. time-dependent behaviour of the surrounding rock mass implementing the Burger and the Burger-MC models are compared to find out the differences and weaknesses of these two practical models which exist in FLAC2D. 296 . Figure 4. Comparison between the Burger and the Burger-MC model for time-dependent shear strain of the tunnel Figure 4 shows that the difference between the Burger and the Burger-MC models is in the immediate plastic (irreversible) deformation which is considered by the Burger-MC model and causes a gap between these two models. Mesh and boundary conditions of tunnel In figure 4.Figure 3. Figure 5 shows the radial convergence of the tunnel face using the Burger. But.

G. Time-dependent behaviour of rocks. CONCLUSIONS In this study. Burger-MC and the proposed model for the radial convergence of the tunnel face It can be seen in figure 5 that at early times the radial convergence of the tunnel face produced by the proposed model is near to the Burger’s model and as time passes by icreasing viscoplastic (timedependent irreversible) deformations it reaches to the Burger-MC’s model.D. 119-149. Cristescu. International journal of pressure vessels and piping. Dusseault. N. 1993.2010. Comprehensive rock engineering. 81.002....01. elastic and plastic deformation of rocks are both immediate and time-dependent features.1016/j. Underg. ISRM News J. Vol. Fordham. Springer-Verlag. Time effects in rock mechanics. The proposed model cosists of a Burger body which is connected in series with a viscoplastic unit accounting for the irreversible creep deformation of rock. CISM Courses and Lectures n. J. Vakilzadeh. A.. N. 2004. A. Squeezing rocks in tunnels. G. a new elasto-viscoplastic creep model is proposed.tust. Besides. Dai. 4. Cristescu. Fahimifar. The equations of the proposed model are implemented in numerical software FLAC2D using the built-in language FISH function for the constitutive model.. Analytical solution for the excavation of circular tunnels in a viscoelastic Burger’s material under hydrostatic stress field.A.J.II(3-4).D.B. Pergamon Press. Tunnel. Viscoplastic behaviour of geomaterials. In: Hudson. 44-49.). 3.. 350.(ed.(eds. Inasmuch as.L. F. Space Technol. REFERENCES Barla. It is also obsereved that the irreversible creep deformation is crucial in the prediction of time-dependent behaviour of rock especially at high stress level where the rock gets its plastic phase. 739-748. 297 .). 1998.. U. based on the well-known Burger-MC model.. M. Gioda. Hunsche. Comparison between the Burger. A. Comparative analysis between the creep deformaion of the proposed model and that of the Burger and Burger-MC models indicates that the proposed model can describe elastic and plastic creep deformation of rock as two stages: the primary elastic creep deformation and the secondary creep including both elastic and plastic with constant strain rate. 2010.. 1994. 1995.. C. H.. Theoretical model and solution for the rheological problem of anchor-grouting a soft rock tunnel. the results of creep behaviour of the proposed model are in proper agreement to the time-dependent behaviour of rock masses in a real medium.Figure 5. Monshizadeh Tehrani. doi: 10. Hedayat. in the proposed model the slider element satisfies the non-linear Hoek-Brown yield criterion which is used most commonly to characterize failure of rock masses in tunnelling projects. Wiley & Sons.

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