Assessment Of Empirical Design Methods For Tunnels In Rock

Einstein, Herbert H. ; Steiner, Walter ; Baecher, Gregory B.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 24
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1979
1. INTRODUCTION Empirical methods have always been important in tunneling in contrast to many other branches of engineering. Beginning in the late 19th century, when engineering entered the phase of formal modeling, this dichotomy could be seen to emerge even in the work of individuals. Culmann (1), Ritter (2) Kommerell (3) and others simultaneously were developing analytical approaches to bridge and building design and empirical approaches to tunnel design. The dichotomy remains. Empirical or simple analytical methods are used at most in the preliminary design of bridges and buildings, while they are used in all phases of tunnel design and construction. In fact, the past decade has seen a resurgence of interest in empirical methods, and with it discussion and controversy. This discussion has centered on the suitability of various methods. In some applications identical results are obtained with differing methods and in some cases radically different ones. On certain occasions the discussion has focused more on the methodological rather than empirical by taking issue with the appropriateness of particular parameters or the structure of some methods. This paper attempts to establish a basis for judging the suitability of empirical methods in tunnel design, and their applicability to particular cases. The paper makes no claim of exhaustiveness, and instead emphasizes basic requirements for application. Various methods are reviewed against this background. A detailed comparison of empirical methods and a description of their concept and background is now being prepared (4). Specifically the paper first defines empirical methods, and their purpose (Section 2), describes their structure (Section 3), and focuses on the basic requirements each must satisfy (Section 4). Then
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