Predicting the Economic Success of Continuous Tunneling in Hard Rock

CIM Bulletin, 1970

J. HANDEWITH, Development Engineer, Lawrence Manufacturing Company, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.

After having performed qualitative and quantitative tests on nearly 550 rock specimens from tunnel projects throughout the world and comparing the results with actual boring in eight distinctly different rock types which varied in compressive strength from 12,000 to over 34,000 psi, it has been concluded that any rock - andesite, granite and even taconite - can be machine-bored. The question is - can it be bored economically? The intent of this paper is to delineate the investigative needs to accurately and reliably answer this question. A piece of NX core in the hand represents less than 50 per cent of the worthwhile geologic information that could have been obtained from a given core hole. A thorough site investigation by competent personnel can generally foretell to what extent, if any, varying geologic conditions will hinder machine progress. A laboratory testing technique has been developed that has been correlated well (80 to 120 per cent) with actual boring results. This technique will be discussed in detail. Rock cutter life is a function of the penetration rate and the forces required to sustain that rate. Cutters are now, and will be for .some time to come, the single, most expensive consumable item involved in continuous tunneling in hard rock. It is by strict attention to predicting these rates and forces that tunneling costs can be optimized.
Keywords: Boring, compressive strength, core sample, cutter, hard rock, CORE, Cutter, Cutters, Rock, Rocks, test, Tests, Tunneling, Tunnels