Three dimensional numerical modelling of joint spacing and orientation effects on rock cutting process by a single TBM cutter
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The performance of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) depends on the efficiency of the cutters, which can be influenced by geological conditions and rock mass properties. In this study, a three-dimensional numerical model, based on a discrete element method, was used to evaluate the effects of joint orientation and its spacing on the fragmentation process by a TBM cutter. Several models were constructed to study the effects of variable orientation; these models incorporated different spacing, variable spacing, different orientations on the fragmentation process, and different sections of the block model. Three parameters, consisting of induced tensile stress, induced shear stress and maximum displacement, were calculated. The stress in each section that forms chips was considered as critical stress; critical joint spacing and orientation in each section were determined. Results show that the critical orientation was in the range of 45 to 60°, where there was a possibility to achieve the maximum penetration rate. The critical joint spacing was 200 mm and, by increasing joint spacing, the value of critical stress decreased significantly. Furthermore, joint orientation could influence more than joint spacing in the rock cutting process.
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