The understanding of rock breaking and chipping due to the TBM cutter disks mechanism in deep tunnels is considered in this paper. The interest stems from the use of TBMs for the excavation of long Trans-Alpine tunnels. Some tests that simulate the disk cutter action at the tunnel face by means of an indenter, acting on a rock specimen are proposed. The rock specimen is confined through a flat-jack and a confinement-free area on one side of the specimen simulates the formation of a groove near the indenter, like it occurs in TBM excavation conditions. Results show a limited influence of the confinement stress versus the thrust increment required for breaking the rock between the indenter and the free side of the specimen. Numerical modelling of the cutter disk action on confined material has also been carried out in order to investigate further aspects of the fracture initiation. Also in this case the importance of the relative position between disk cutter and groove is pointed out.
Innaurato, N., Oggeri, C., Oreste, P. P., & Vinai, R. (2007). Experimental and numerical studies on rock breaking with TBM tools under high stress confinement. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering, 40(5), 429-451. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-006-0109-4