The Influence of Soil Particle Size Distribution on the Abrasion of EPB Machine Cutting Tools

Document Type : Original Article


Rock Mechanics Engineering, Mining Engineering Faculty, Sahand University of Technology, Tabriz, Iran.


One of the most critical problems of mechanized tunnelling is the abrasion of cutting tools. Soil abrasivity significantly reduces drilling efficiency and increases the operating costs of urban tunnels. There are extensive studies on abrasivity of rocks. However, limited studies have been performed on the influence of soil particle size distribution on tunnelling machine cutting tools. Despite the wide range of methods and devices for measuring soil abrasivity, so far, no standard and comprehensive method for measuring soil abrasivity have been presented. In this study, considering the effect of some effective parameters on the abrasion of cutting tools, a new laboratory machine to determine soil abrasivity was constructed. Then, using 8 different types of soil granulation, the effect of soil particle size distribution and density on cutting tool abrasion was studied. Also, using the Talbot curve, the abrasion values ​​of cutting tools in different particle sizes were compared. The results showed that the highest values ​​of cutting tools abrasion occur in soils with particle sizes according to the Talbot equation. As the soil granulation curve moves away from the Talbot curve, abrasivity decreases. Also, the maximum abrasion of cutting tools occurs in the amount of fine aggregate of 10% with an average abrasion percentage of 27.3%. By reducing the fine aggregate to values lower than 10%, the soil structure is disturbed and as a result, the average abrasion percentage of cutting tools decreases from 27.3% in soil with 10% fine aggregate to 2.37% in soil without fine aggregate. Also, by increasing soil density from 1.6 to 1.8, the average abrasion percentage of cutting tools increases from 8.1% to 31.4%.


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