Effect of replacing disc cutters with chisel tools on performance of a TBM in difficult ground conditions

Bilgin N., Çopur H., BALCI C.

TUNNELLING AND UNDERGROUND SPACE TECHNOLOGY, vol.27, no.1, pp.41-51, 2012 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier


A summary of a research program covering a period of two years on the performance of a TBM in a very complex and difficult geology is presented in this study. The formations in the study area varied from alluvium, sludge, mudstone, shale and limestone to quartzite with strengths from soft to very hard. The dykes frequently intruded the sedimentary rocks resulting in different degrees of weathering and fracturing in the country rock causing tremendous delays in progress rate of the TBM. The disc cutters started cutting inefficiently in clayey medium strength ground with extreme water income, at where also excessive disc consumptions started due to insufficient friction between the disc cutters and very soft (sludgy) formation, and it was decided to replace all disc cutters with chisel tools (ripper, scraper). Before making this important decision that could affect totally the excavation efficiency and production rate, some theoretical estimations were performed using the Evans' cutting theory after some modifications based on the previous experimental studies for relieved cutting mode and wear flat, front ridge and vee-bottom angles found in complex shapes of chisel tools to estimate deterministically the torque and thrust requirements of the TBM.