Effect of soil models on the prediction of tunnelling-induced deformations of structures

Giorgia Giardina, Nunzio Losacco, Matthew J. De Jong, Giulia M.B. Viggiani, Robert J. Mair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Computational modelling of the effect of underground excavations on adjacent structures has shown great potential to aid the assessment of tunnelling-induced damage to structures. However, the complexity of the mechanisms involved and the uncertainties connected to the use of sophisticated constitutive laws still limit the application of numerical modelling in civil engineering practice. This paper evaluates the effectiveness of soil models with different levels of complexity when predicting tunnelling-induced displacements of the soil surface, and consequently the assessment of building deformations. The performance of a non-linear elastic, a linear elastic-perfectly plastic and a critical-state-based kinematic hardening soil model were compared with the results of centrifuge testing of a tunnel excavation in sand. Results demonstrated that both the non-linear elastic and the kinematic hardening models are suitable to reproduce the effect of soil-structure interaction on the soil surface displacements and the building deformations, while also demonstrating the limitations of these methods in predicting local soil strains around the tunnel itself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-397
Number of pages19
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • computational mechanics
  • models (physical)
  • tunnels and tunnelling

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