Centrifuge modelling of building response to tunnel excavation

Stefan Ritter, Giorgia Giardina, Matthew J. DeJong, Robert J. Mair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Citations (SciVal)


Understanding the building response to tunnelling-induced settlements is an important aspect of urban tunnelling in soft ground. Previous centrifuge modelling research demonstrated significant potential to study this tunnel–soil–structure interaction problem. However, these recent studies were limited by simplified building models, which might result in uncertainties when interpreting the building performance to tunnelling subsidence. This paper presents an experimental modelling procedure and the results of a series of centrifuge tests, involving relatively complex surface structures subjected to tunnelling in sand. Powder-based three-dimensional (3D) printing was adopted to fabricate building models with realistic layouts, facade openings and foundations. The 3D printed material had a Young's modulus and a brittle response similar to historic masonry. Modelling effects and boundary conditions are quantified. The good agreement between the experimentally obtained results and previous research demonstrates that the soil–structure interaction during tunnel excavation is well replicated. The experimental procedure provides a framework to quantify how building features affect the response of buildings to tunnelling subsidence.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1600053
Pages (from-to)146-161
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Physical Modelling in Geotechnics
Issue number3
Early online date31 May 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018


  • Brickwork and masonry
  • Models (physical)
  • Tunnels and tunnelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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