Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Prediction Model for Disc Cutter Wear of Tunnel Boring Machines in Sandy Cobble Strata

  • 23 Accesses


The disc cutter of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) intended for sandy cobble strata undergoes severe wear, which significantly increases the cost and construction period. Currently, there is no wear prediction model for disc cutters in the case of sandy cobble strata. This paper proposes a wear prediction model for disc cutters of a TBM operated in sandy cobble strata. A wear rate expression is determined based on the theory of tribology. A quantitative relationship between the wear coefficient and the particle size parameters (Cu and d60) is established. The strength of the cobbles and the motion track and outline of the disc cutter are considered in the model. The model is validated using field data from two cases. The effect of grain distribution is considered in the proposed model, unlike that in existing prediction models, thus offering a more effective approach in predicting the wear of disc cutters intended for sandy cobble strata.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Amoun S, Sharifzadeh M, Shahriar K, Rostami J, Tarigh Azali S (2017) Evaluation of tool wear In EPB tunneling of tehran metro, Line 7 expansion. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 61:233–246, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2016.11.001

  2. Archard JF (1980) Wear theory and mechanisms. In: Peterson MB, Winer WO, (eds) Wear control handbook. ASME, New York, NY, USA

  3. Barzegari G, Uromeihy A, Zhao J (2014) EPB tunneling challenges in bouldery ground: A new experience on the tabriz metro line 1, Iran. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment 73(2):429–440, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-013-0490-7

  4. Bruland A (1998) Hard rock tunnel boring. PhD Thesis, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

  5. Budarapu PR, Gracie R, Yang SW, Zhuang XW, Rabczuk T (2014) Efficient coarse graining in multiscale modeling of fracture. Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics 69:126–143, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tafmec.2013.12.004

  6. Delisio A, Zhao J (2014) A new model for TBM performance prediction in blocky rock conditions. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 43:440–452, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2014.06.004

  7. Gehring K (1995) Prognosis of advance rates and wear for underground mechanized excavations. Felsbau 13(9):439–448 (in German)

  8. Hashemnejad A, Ghafoori M, Azali ST (2016) Utilizing water, mineralogy and sedimentary properties to predict LCPC abrasivity coefficient. Bulletin of Engineering Geology and the Environment 75(2):841–851, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10064-015-0779-9

  9. Hassanpour J, Rostami J, Tarigh Azali S, Zhao J (2014) Introduction of an empirical TBM cutter wear prediction model for pyroclastic and mafic igneous rocks; A case history of Karaj water conveyance tunnel, Iran. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 43:222–231, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2014.05.007

  10. Johnson KL (2001) Contact mechanics, sixth printing. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK

  11. Köppl F, Thuro K (2013) Cutting tool wear and management of wear related rsiks for Mix-Shield TBM in soft ground. In: Proceedings of the 18th international conference on soil mechanics and geotechnical engineering, September 2–6, Paris, France, 1739–1742

  12. Köppl F, Thuro K, Thewes M (2015) Suggestion of an empirical prognosis model for cutting tool wear of hydroshield TBM. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 49:287–294, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2015.04.017

  13. Li X, Li X, Yuan D (2017) Application of an interval wear analysis method to cutting tools used in tunneling shields in soft ground. Wear 392:21–28, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wear.2017.09.010

  14. Liu Q, Liu J, Pan Y, Zhang X, Peng X, Gong Q, Du L (2017) A wear rule and cutter life prediction model of a 20-in. TBM cutter for granite: A case study of a water conveyance tunnel in China. Rock Mechanics and Rock Engineering 50(5):1303–1320, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00603-017-1176-4

  15. Marta F, Salvany JM, Jubany J, Carrasco L (2015) Tunnel boring machine collision with an ancient boulder beach during the excavation of the Barcelona city subway L10 line: A case of adverse geology and resulting engineering solutions. Engineering Geology 200(18): 31–46, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2015.11.010

  16. Rabczuk T, Zi G, Bordas S, Nguyen-Xuan H (2010) A simple and robust three-dimensional cracking-particle method without enrichment. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering 199: 2437–2455, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cma.2010.03.031

  17. Rostami J (1997) Development of a force estimation model for rock fragmentation with disc cutters through theoretical modeling and physical measurement of crushed zone pressure. PhD Thesis. Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO, USA

  18. Rostami J, Ozdemir L (1993) New model for performance production of hard rock TBMs. Rapid excavation and tunneling conference, June 13–17, Boston, MA, USA, 793–809

  19. Steven W, Hunt PE CH2M, Henderson NV (2017) Tunneling in cobbles and boulders. 10th annual breakthroughs in tunneling, August 14–16, Chicago, IL, USA

  20. Tan Q, Sun X, Xia Y, Cai X, Zhu Z, Zhang J (2017) A wear prediction model of disc cutter for TBM. Journal of Central South University (Science and Technology) 48(1):54–60, DOI: https://doi.org/10.11817/j.issn.1672-7207.2017.01.008

  21. Wang L, Kang Y, Zhao X, Zhang Q (2015) Disc cutter wear prediction for a hard rock TBM cutterhead based on energy analysis. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 50:324–333, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2015.08.003

  22. Wang L, Li HP, Zhao X, Zhang Q (2017) Development of a prediction model for the wear evolution of disc cutters on rock TBM cutterhead. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 67:147–157, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2017.05.003

  23. Wang X, Zhao Y, Zhang B, Ma H, Chen L (2010) Study on the wear mechanism of disc cutter of TBM. Modern Tunnelling Technology 47(5):15–19, DOI: https://doi.org/10.13807/j.cnki.mtt.2010.05.002 (in Chinese)

  24. Wei Y, Yang Y, Tao MJ (2019) Effects of gravel content and particle size on abrasivity of sandy gravel mixtures. Engineering Geology 243:26–35, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2018.06.009

  25. Wei Y, Zheng X, Su F, Li M, Li F, Yang Y (2018) Evaluation of cutting tool wear of earth pressure balance shield in granular soil based on laboratory test. Journal of Testing and Evaluation 47(2):927–941, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1520/JTE20180402

  26. Wen S, Huang P (2018) Principles of tribology, fifth printing. Tsinghua University Press, Beijing, China (in Chinese)

  27. Wu J, Yuan D, Li X, Jing D, Shen X (2017) Analysis on wear mechanism and prediction of shield tunnel. China Journal of Highway and Transport 30(8):109–116+142, DOI: https://doi.org/10.19721/j.cnki.1001-7372.2017.08.012 (in Chinese)

  28. Yang Y, Chen K, Li F, Guo L (2015) Wear prediction model of disc cutter. Journal of China Coal Society 40(6):1290–1296, DOI: https://doi.org/10.13225/j.cnki.jccs.2014.3037 (in Chinese)

  29. Ye F, Qin N, Gao X, Quan X, Qin X, Dai B (2019) Shield equipment optimization and construction control technology in water-rich and sandy cobble stratum: A case study of the first yellow river metro tunnel undercrossing. Advances in Civil Engineering 2019, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1155/2019/8358013

  30. Zhang Z, Aqeel M, Li C, Sun F (2019a) Theoretical prediction of wear of disc cutters in tunnel boring machine and its application. Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering 11:111–120, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrmge.2018.05.006

  31. Zhang P, Liu J, Du X, Lu D (2018a) Computational homogenization for mechanical properties of sand cobble stratum based on fractal theory Engineering Geology 232(8):82–93, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enggeo.2017.11.013

  32. Zhang YM, Zhuang XY (2018b) Cracking elements: A self-propagating strong discontinuity embedded approach for quasi-brittle fracture. Finite Elements in Analysis and Design 144:84–100, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.finel.2017.10.007

  33. Zhang YM, Zhuang XY (2019b) Cracking elements method for dynamic brittle fracture. Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics 102:1–9, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tafmec.2018.09.015

  34. Zhao J, Gong QM, Eisensten Z (2007) Tunnelling through a frequently changing and mixed ground: A case history in Singapore. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology 22(4):388–400, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2006.10.002

  35. Zhao H, Shu B, Xia Y, Zheng W (2014) Study of wear prediction for TBM cutter based on abrasive wear model. Journal of Railway Science and Engineering 11(4):152–158, DOI: https://doi.org/10.19713/j.cnki.43-1423/u.2014.04.025 (in Chinese)

  36. Zhou S (2016) New challenges in construction mechanics of urban rail transit. Scientia Sinica Technological 46(6):560–569, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1360/N092015-00318 (in Chinese)

  37. Zhou SH, Guo PJ, Stoll DE (2018b) Interaction model for “Shelled Particles” and small-strain modulus of granular materials. Journal of Applied Mechanics 85(10):101001, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4040408

  38. Zhou J, Song J, Tan Z (2017) Study on abrasive properties of shielded hob in subway shield of sandy gravel formation. China Civil Engineering Journal 50(S1):31–35, DOI: https://doi.org/10.15951/j.tmgcxb.2017.s1.006 (in Chinese)

  39. Zhou SW, Zhuang XY, Rabczuk T (2019) Phase-field modeling of fluid-driven dynamic cracking in porous media. Computer Methods in Applied Mechanics and Engineering 350:169–198, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cma.2019.03.001

  40. Zhou SW, Zhuang XY, Zhu HW, Rabczuk T (2018a) Phase field modelling of crack propagation, branching and coalescence in rocks. Theoretical and Applied Fracture Mechanics 96:174–192, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tafmec.2018.04.011

Download references


This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) through Grant No. 51808405.

Author information

Correspondence to Honggui Di.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Li, Y., Di, H., Yao, Q. et al. Prediction Model for Disc Cutter Wear of Tunnel Boring Machines in Sandy Cobble Strata. KSCE J Civ Eng 24, 1010–1019 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12205-020-1631-8

Download citation


  • Sandy cobble strata
  • Tunnel boring machines
  • Disc cutter
  • Wear prediction
  • Particle size distribution