Three-dimensional finite element analysis of lined tunnels

L. Simoni, B. A. Schrefler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Scopus citations


This paper describes finite element procedures that have been developed to model the ground movements that occur when a shallow tunnel is installed in a clay soil. This study is part of a wider project concerned with the development of new methods to predict the likely extent of damage to surface structures caused by nearby shallow tunnelling. This particular paper, however, is concerned only with the numerical model of tunnel installation. The structural liner is an important component of this tunnel installation model; two different ways of modelling the liner (based on continuum elements and shell elements) are discussed in the paper. A test problem consisting of the installation of a lined tunnel in an elastic continuum is used to investigate the merits of these different approaches. When continuum elements are used to model the liner, the numerical results agree well with an analytical solution to the problem. When shell elements are used to model the liner, however, the results were found to be significantly influenced by the particular formulation adopted for the shell elements. Example analyses, involving incremental tunnel construction in a clay soil where the soil is modelled using a kinematic hardening plasticity model, are described. These analyses confirm that a thin layer of continuum elements may be used, satisfactorily, to model tunnel linings in a soil-structure interaction analysis of this sort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-262
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2001


  • Finite elements
  • Tunnels

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Computational Mechanics

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