Numerical modeling of the effects of joint orientation on rock fragmentation by TBM cutters

Qiu Ming Gong, Jian Zhao, Yu Yong Jiao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

203 Citations (Scopus)


The performance of tunnel boring machines (TBM) highly depends on the fragmentation efficiency of the cutters. Many geological factors can influence the rock fragmentation process. In this study, a series of two dimension numerical modeling were performed using the discrete element method (DEM) to explore the effect of joint orientation on rock fragmentation by a TBM cutter. Results show that the joint orientation can significantly influence the crack initiation and propagation as well as the fragmentation pattern, and hence affect the penetration rate of the TBM. Such observations are also noted by laboratory and site studies. It also indicates that discontinuum-based DEM has the potential in simulating rock indentation and fragmentation by TBM cutters when rock joints are taken into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-191
Number of pages9
JournalTunnelling and Underground Space Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Fragmentation
  • Indentation
  • modeling
  • TBM cutter
  • UDEC

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