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The squeezing of tunnels is a common phenomenon in poor rock masses under high in situ stress conditions. The critical strain parameter is an indicator that allows the degree of squeezing potential to be quantified. It is defined as the strain level on the tunnel periphery beyond which instability and squeezing problems are likely to occur. Presently, in the literature, the value of critical strain is generally taken as 1%. It is shown in this study that the critical strain is an anisotropic property and that it depends on the properties of the intact rock and the joints in the rock mass. A correlation of critical strain with the uniaxial compressive strength, tangent modulus of intact rock and the field modulus of the jointed mass is suggested in this paper. It is also suggested that the modulus of deformation being anisotropic in nature should be obtained from field tests. In absence of field tests, use of a classification approach is recommended, and, expressions are suggested for critical strain in terms of rock mass quality Q. A rational classification based on squeezing index (SI) is proposed to identify and quantify the squeezing potential in tunnels. Applicability of the approach is demonstrated through application to 30 case histories from the field.

Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 22 (2007) 343–350
Civil Engineering Department, IIT Roorkee, Roorkee 247 667, UA, India
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