The Stability Assessment of Dasht-e-Abbas Pressure Intake Tunnel Subjected to Ground Strength Reduction-Iran


1 Professor, Civil Engineering Deptartment, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

2 M.Sc., Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran

3 Ph.D Candidate, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran


The hydraulic pressure is one of the most important factors in the design of pressure intake tunnels. Since the surrounding media cannot usually resist the high internal pressure of these tunnels, they are usually finished with an adequate lining mostly of reinforced concrete, which is an interaction problem between water, soil or rock and concrete lining. Although reinforcing the concrete lining may reduce the width and number of the developed cracks in the lining, the penetration of water into the surrounding media can still happen due to high water pressure in the tunnel. Thus, it may lead to the development of hydro pressure on the external surface of the lining. There are some theoretical methods that are developed for the design of tunnel lining in this condition. When the tunnel is located above the underground water table, the seeping water may lead to strength reduction of the adjacent soils, particularly when the ground, like the mudstone layers existing in Dasht-e-Abbas region, south-west of Iran, is cohesive and consists of soils that are susceptible to water.

In this paper, the hydrostatic interaction between soil and concrete lining of Dasht-e-Abbas pressure intake tunnel has been investigated when the shear strength parameters of the mudstone layers decrease due to the seepage of water to the surrounding media. To evaluate the stability of the tunnel, a two dimensional numerical simulation is developed using the finite element code called PLAXIS and interaction analyses are carried out. The analyses are done in stages to assess the maximum internal forces induced in the lining. The structural stability of the tunnel is evaluated and discussed in this condition. Based on the obtained results, it is noted that for more realistic understanding of the behavior of infrastructures like pressure intake tunnels under various conditions, numerical analyses should also accompany experimental and analytical approaches such as Schleiss method which is described in this paper, especially for tunneling in media that is susceptible to water and ground strength reduction. The numerical analysis results show a considerable increase in the lining internal forces when subjected to the reduction of ground strength. However, the tunnel structure is still stable under the effect of surrounding ground degradation with the constructed lining specifications.