Finite element modelling of excavation and advancement processes of a shield tunnelling machine

Kazuhito Komiya, Kenichi Soga, Hirokazu Akagi, Toshiyuki Hagiwara, Malcolm D. Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Citations (Scopus)


During shield tunnelling operation, a shield machine is driven forward by applying mechanical jack forces behind the machine tail and excavating the soil in front of the machine with its cutting face. In this study, the advancement and excavation processes of the shield tunnelling operation are modelled using the finite element method in order to investigate the effect of these construction processes on the ground response. A new excavating finite element, which models the disturbed soil in front of the cutting face, is introduced. The operation of shield advancement and of soil excavation is simulated using the finite element remeshing technique at each time step of the analysis. The accuracy of the finite element remeshing technique is discussed by analysing one-dimensional consolidation of an isotropic elastic medium. The proposed modelling techniques of shield tunnelling construction are applied to simulate a tunnelling project in Tokyo and the numerical results are compared with the field measurements. The soil deformation mechanism associated with the shield tunnelling operation is examined in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-52
Number of pages16
JournalSoils and Foundations
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Cohesive soil
  • Deformation
  • Finite element method
  • Stress
  • Tunnel
  • Water pressure (IGC: H5/E13)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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