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.
- TBM cutter