Design and Optimization of Tunnel Guidance Systems for Tunneling subject to Constrained Space and Limited Visibility

  • Author / Creator
    Mao, Sheng
  • Modern construction, which is part of the whole industrialization process, evolves to be more both cost-efficient and time-efficient, meanwhile still preserving high quality. The core of the process is to extract and migrate precious body of knowledge and practical experience of the craftsmen (engineers, workers, etc.) to well-defined systems. Comparing to the scarceness of skillful craftsmen, the established systems will be able to replicate and distribute the knowledge and skills more quickly to new situations where related expertise is hard to obtain and scientific decision support is much desired in coping with real world challenges. The rapid expansion of cities worldwide demands fast construction of municipal infrastructures. The service tunnels, e.g. drainage tunnels and sanitary tunnels are very crucial to the life quality of the residents. However, the traditional tunnel construction is not efficient in either cost or time terms. Sufficient tunnels cannot serve these problems cause residents in reasonable time. The underground construction undertakings are never easy: from engineering aspect, besides the unpredictable changes of geotechnical conditions during the construction, the modern survey technologies like GPS cannot be applied to underground construction; the difficulties in underground construction are very high. From management aspect, the tunnels have less concurrency of different tasks due to the space constraints, and these results in less contingency for the management: even a small event may invalidate a thorough plan. Thanks to the modern construction techniques, for example, the guidance system of tunnel-boring machine, the tunnel construction has become much easier. The guidance system embeds survey as part of the construction, and feeds the construction with real-time guidance and checks. The technology results in productivity improvement and lower cost, and fast-feedback and without the help of the survey-based guidance system, the cost and difficulty of TBM construction are unimaginable. The guidance systems, especially those equipped with robotic survey tools, not only change the process of tunnel construction, but also can change the process of designing for construction implementation, which are currently solely comprehended by engineers and their experienced colleagues in the field relying on “gut” feeling. The research focuses on designing temporary facilities for tunnel construction. The engineering design of the tunnels concerns about functionality and geotechnical conditions, and in comparison, the design of temporary facilities cares more about practical implementation of the construction process. This research proposes a new framework to help with designing and optimizing temporary facilities by eliminating expensive and efficiency-killing full survey while preserving high quality. The survey-error based design framework utilizes the state-of-the-art guidance system as part of core design: the automation of the guidance system is the key to simplify the traditional construction, and make the new design possible. Therefore, the research will be illustrated in three steps: first the thesis introduces a state-of-the-art automation TBM guidance system and the mechanism of the latest guidance method; then the thesis discusses how to adapt the automatic guidance system into extreme cases of tunnel construction; and eventually, the thesis reveals why and how the automatic system becomes part of a design framework to facilitate tunneling under practical field constraints.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.