New equations for predicting the field penetration index of tunnel boring machines in fractured rock mass

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The Queens Water Tunnel No. 3, stage 2 having 7.5-km length and 7-m diameter, is excavated by a high-power tunnel boring machine (TBM) underneath Brooklyn and Queens area for distributing freshwater throughout the New York City, USA. This paper offers a review of the project by considering the TBM performance and rock mass interaction. Using the individual cutter force, intact, and mass rock properties, TBM performance by means of field penetration index (FPI) was predicted and compared with actual results obtained in the field. Further, the study involves statistical analysis of the laboratory and field data including machine, intact, and mass rock properties to develop new empirical equations to estimate FPI. It is stated that the FPI, also converted to the rate of penetration, could be estimated utilizing intact and mass rock properties together with cutter force for similar type of rocks with correlation coefficient of 0.88.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017
Externally publishedYes



  • Field penetration index
  • Fractures
  • Rock mass
  • Tunnel boring machine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)

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