Effect of seepage forces on tunnel face stability

In Mo Lee, Seok Woo Nam, Jae Hun Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, two factors are simultaneously considered for assessing tunnel face stability. The first is the effective stress acting on the tunnel face calculated by upper bound solution, and the other is the seepage force calculated by numerical analysis under the condition of steady-state groundwater flow. The seepage forces calculated by numerical analysis are compared with the results of a model test. The upper bound solution taking into consideration the seepage force acting on the tunnel face, shows that the minimum support pressure for the face stability is equal to the sum of the effective support pressure that is obtained from the upper bound solution based on effective stress and the seepage pressure acting on the tunnel face. It was found that the average seepage pressure acting on the tunnel face is proportional to the hydrostatic pressure at the same elevation, and the magnitude is about 22% of the hydrostatic pressure for the drainage type tunnel and about 28% for the waterproof type tunnel. The seepage forces obtained from the results of a model test showed similar trends as those calculated by numerical analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-350
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Apr


  • Face stability
  • Model test
  • Seepage force
  • Upper bound solution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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