Geotechnical and Geological Engineering

, Volume 28, Issue 3, pp 251–264 | Cite as

Geotechnical Characterization by In situ and Lab Tests to the Back-Analysis of a Supported Excavation in Metro do Porto

  • António Viana da Fonseca
  • Sara Rios Silva
  • Nuno Cruz
Original Paper


This paper summarizes the geotechnical characterization conducted for the design and subsequent analysis of a strutted excavation in “Metro do Porto”. This region is geologically dominated by heterogeneous weathered granite masses with deep residual soil profiles. Local saprolitic soils exhibit, by their nature, a particular behavior characterized by very sensitive and weak relic micro-structures, due to their specific genesis. This study has included the interpretation of a significant volume of in situ test results, triaxial tests over undisturbed samples and monitoring data, giving rise to specific correlations between testing and design parameters. Real time monitoring enabled a back-analysis by FEM of a well instrumented section of the strutted excavation, which was calibrated taking into account the derived correlations and the deformability behavior of this specific geotechnical ambient. This geomaterial, although revealing very high initial stiffness values (for very small strain ranges) has shown low stiffness values for “medium to high” strain levels, reflecting a singular strong non-linearity in the stress-strain behavior.


Residual soils Strutted excavation In situ tests Triaxial tests FEM back-analysis 



The authors wish to thank Metro do Porto, Transmetro and Civi4 for their cooperation in providing data from the project, including monitoring and in situ tests results.

In situ tests, were also possible due to the precious support of Mota-Engil and Ciccopn, to which the authors are gratefully acknowledged.

The study was funded by the Science and Technology Foundation from the Ministry of Science, Technology and University Education, on the project called “New techniques for the structural support of deep excavations in residual soils” (POCI/ECM/61934/2004).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • António Viana da Fonseca
    • 1
  • Sara Rios Silva
    • 1
  • Nuno Cruz
    • 2
  1. 1.Faculty of EngineeringUniversity of PortoPortoPortugal
  2. 2.Mota-Engil, Engenharia e ConstruçõesS.A., University of AveiroAveiroPortugal

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