Soft sedimentary rocks and their boreability characteristics in mechanised tunnelling projects

Jafar Hassanpour, Saeed Goodarzi, Saffet Yagiz, Jamal Rostami, Milad Davari Sarem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Soft sedimentary rocks are frequently found in many mountainous regions of the world like Zagros Mountains located in the south and west of Iran, where most of Iran's water conveyance projects have been constructed or are under construction. These rocks usually contain considerable amounts of different types of clay minerals. The clay mineral-rich rocks cause many problems in the deep and long mechanised tunnelling projects. In particular, the boreability of these rocks is very different from other rocks, and due to their plastic behaviour and the lack of complete formation of chips during the cutting process by disc cutters, the prediction of cutterhead penetration in these rocks, with existing models, is often inaccurate. In this paper, a new model for estimating the disc cutter penetration in these rocks is introduced, which is based on data obtained from the main tunnelling projects completed in sedimentary rocks of Zagros Mountains. Then, the validity of the developed model is checked using actual data obtained from a tunnel recently constructed in the area. The new model can offer a more accurate estimate of machine performance in similar rocks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-37
Number of pages10
JournalGeomechanik und Tunnelbau
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 2023


  • cutter load
  • cutterhead penetration
  • Engineering geology
  • Mechanized tunneling
  • soft sedimentary rocks
  • TBM performance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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