KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering

, Volume 23, Issue 10, pp 4553–4563 | Cite as

Stability Analysis of Tunnel Face in Nonlinear Soil under Seepage Flow

  • Xiao-Li YangEmail author
  • Jun-Hao Zhong
Tunnel Engineering


The face stability of tunnel may be decreased significantly due to the presence of seepage flow. In order to investigate effects of seepage flow, an original procedure is presented for face stability of a circular tunnel excavated by a pressurized shied, based on the discretization technique and the nonlinear failure criterion. A discretization technique is utilized to generate the latent failure mechanism by making use of point to point method. The collapsed blocks are decomposed into infinitesimal triangular elements. Each element is consisted of discretized points and adjacent radial to simplify the computed process. The upper bound solutions of retaining force are derived by equating the total rate of external work to the rate of internal energy dissipation. Pore water pressure is incorporated into energy calculation, according to the empirical distribution formula of hydraulic head which is derived by trial and error. The validity of the proposed method has been proved by making comparison with the published works. Agreement shows that the proposed method is effective. A parametric analysis is implemented to discuss the effects of seepage flow and soil nonlinearity on stability of tunnel face, and the concrete results are illustrated for practical use in engineering.


tunnel face stability nonlinear failure criterion discretization technique seepage flow energy 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The preparation of the paper has received NSFC (51378510).


  1. Bishop, A. W. and Morgenstern, N. R. (1960). “Stability coefficients for earth slopes.” Geotechnique, Vol. 10, No. 4, pp. 129–150, DOI: Scholar
  2. Chen, W. F. (1975). Limit analysis and soil plasticity, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam.zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. Davis, E. H., Gunn, M. J., Mair, R. J., and Seneviratne, H. N. (1980). “The stability of shallow tunnels and underground openings in cohesive material.” Géotechnique, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 397–416, DOI: Scholar
  4. Fraldi, M., and Guarracino, F. (2010). “Analytical solutions for collapse mechanisms in tunnels with arbitrary cross sections.” International Journal of Solids and Structures, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 216–223, DOI: Scholar
  5. Huang, M., Tang, Z., Zhou, W., and Yuan, J. (2018). “Upper bound solutions for face stability of circular tunnels in nonhomogeneous and anisotropic clays.” Computers and Geotechnics, Vol. 98, pp. 189–196, DOI: Scholar
  6. Leca, E. and Dormieux, L. (1990). “Upper and lower bound solutions for the face stability of shallow circular tunnels in frictional material.” Geotechnique, Vol. 40, No. 4, pp. 581–606, DOI: Scholar
  7. Lee, I. M. and Nam, S. W. (2001). “The study of seepage forces acting on the tunnel lining and tunnel face in shallow tunnels.” Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 31–40, DOI: 10.1016/S0886-7798(01)00028-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Li, Y. X. and Yang, X. L. (2019a). “Soil-slope stability considering effect of soil-strength nonlinearity.” International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 19, No. 3, 04018201, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0001355.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Li, Y. X. and Yang, X. L. (2019b). “Seismic displacement of 3D slope reinforced by piles with nonlinear failure criterion.” International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 19, No. 6, p. 04019042, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0001411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Li, Z. W. and Yang, X. L. (2019c). “Kinematical analysis of active earth pressure considering tension crack, pore-water pressure and soil nonlinearity.” KSCE Journal of Civil Engineering, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 56–62, DOI: Scholar
  11. Li, Z. W. and Yang, X. L. (2019d). “Active earth pressure from unsaturated soils with different water levels.” International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 19, No. 7, p. 06019013, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0001471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mollon, G., Dias, D., and Soubra, A. H. (2009). “Probabilistic analysis and design of circular tunnels against face stability.” International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 9, No. 6, pp. 237–249, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)1532-3641(2009)9:6(237).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mollon, G., Dias, D., and Soubra, A. H. (2010). “Face stability analysis of circular tunnels driven by a pressurized shield.” Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering, Vol. 136, No. 1, pp. 215–229, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0000194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Mollon, G., Phoon, K. K., Dias, D., and Soubra, A. H. (2011). “Validation of a new 2D failure mechanism for the stability analysis of a pressurized tunnel face in a spatially varying sand.” Journal of Engineering Mechanics, Vol. 137, No. 1, pp. 8–21, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)em.1943-7889.0000196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Michalowski, R. L. (1995). “Slope stability analysis: A kinematical approach.” Geotechnique, Vol. 45, No. 2, pp. 283–293, DOI: Scholar
  16. Pan, Q. J. and Dias, D. (2016). “The effect of pore water pressure on tunnel face stability.” International Journal for Numerical and Analytical Methods in Geomechanics, Vol. 40, No. 15, pp. 2123–2136, DOI: Scholar
  17. Pan, Q. J. and Dias, D. (2017). “Upper-bound analysis on the face stability of a non-circular tunnel.” Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, Vol. 62, pp. 96–102, DOI: Scholar
  18. Perazzelli, P., Leone, T., and Anagnostou, G. (2014). “Tunnel face stability under seepage flow conditions.” Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, Vol. 43, pp. 459–469, DOI: Scholar
  19. Qin, C. B. and Chian, S. C. (2017). “Kinematic stability of a two-stage slope in layered soils.” International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 17, No. 9, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0000928.Google Scholar
  20. Qin, C. B. and Chian, S. C. (2018). “Bearing capacity analysis of a saturated non-uniform soil slope with discretization-based kinematic analysis.” Computers and Geotechnics, Vol. 96, pp. 246–257, DOI: Scholar
  21. Viratjandr, C. and Michalowski, R. L. (2006). “Limit analysis of submerged slopes subjected to water drawdown.” Canadian Geotechnical Journal, Vol. 43, No. 8, pp. 802–814, DOI: 10.1139/t06-042.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Xu, J. S. and Yang, X. L. (2019). “Seismic stability of 3D soil slope reinforced by geosynthetic with nonlinear failure criterion.” Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Vol. 118, pp. 86–97, DOI: Scholar
  23. Yang, X. L. and Chen J. H. (2019). “Factor of safety of geosynthetic-reinforced slope in unsaturated soils.” International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 19. No. 6, p. 04019041, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE) GM.1943-5622.0001399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Yang, X. L. and Zhang, S. (2019). “Seismic active earth pressure for soils with tension cracks.” International Journal of Geomechanics, Vol. 19, No. 6, p. 06019009, DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)GM.1943-5622.0001414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Zhang, D. B. Jiang, Y., and Yang X. L. (2019a). “Estimation of 3D active earth pressure under nonlinear strength condition.” Geomechanics and Engineering, Vol. 17, No. 6, 515–525, DOI: Scholar
  26. Zhang, J. H., Wang, W. J., Zhang, B., Zhang, D. B., and Song, J. C. (2019b). “Upper bound solution for required supporting pressure applied on a deep shield tunnel face under different groundwater levels.” Geotechnical and Geological Engineering, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 491–499, DOI: Scholar
  27. Zingg, S. and Anagnostou, G. (2012). The effects of advance drainage on face stability in homogeneous ground, ITA-AITES World Tunnel Congress, Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Korean Society of Civil Engineers 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Civil EngineeringCentral South UniversityChangshaChina

Personalised recommendations