A review on the performance of the underground tunnels against blast loading

Senthil Kasilingam, Muskaan Sethi, Loizos Pelecanos

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The tunneling system has become an important part of the present infrastructure system in all over the world. Therefore, it has become important to ensure the safety of the tunnels against any type of man-made blasting activities or other accidental blasting occurrence. In order to evaluate the performance of the tunnels against blast loading, a detailed review is carried out. Based on the review in the last couple of decades, the various parameters such as tunnel lining materials, tunnel shapes, tunnel lining thickness, tunnel burial depth, charge weight and standoff distance are high influences on the performance of underground tunnels against blast loading. It was observed that the tunnel roof and the tunnel wall center are most vulnerable to the blast loads. Also, it was found that more of the tunnel lining thickness results in lesser deformation at the tunnel roof and the tunnel wall center. The increase in the burial depth of the tunnel would reduce the extent of damage to the tunnel caused by effects of surface blast loading. The stiffness and strength of the ground media may be enhanced against the effects of blast loading by grouting measures. The studies revealed that the lining materials possessing blast waves absorbing properties can be best suited to be used in tunnel linings. Further, it was observed that more damage was caused to the tunnels due to the magnitude of the charge weight. An increase in the blast load causes a significant increase in the fracture area, residual stress and lateral displacement caused to the tunnel by the action of blast load. The standoff distance of the blast load from the tunnel also plays a significant role in the damage of the tunnel. More is the distance between the charge and the tunnel, lesser damage caused to the tunnels. In addition to that, the lining thickness was predicted and the trend was calibrated and fitted logarithmically with the available results. Based on the observation from the literature, it is concluded that the use of a single lining material in the tunnel against blast loading was studied predominantly in the couple of decades. Further, the performance of the tunnels in combination of different tunnel lining materials against blast loading was found limited. The influence of barriers to save the underground tunnels against blast loading was found limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Structural Engineering and Applied Mechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2021


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