Robust geotechnical design of shield-driven tunnels

Wenping Gong, Lei Wang, C. Hsein Juang, Jie Zhang, Hongwei Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


This paper presents a fuzzy set-based robust geotechnical design (RGD) methodology for the design of shield-driven tunnels. Here, uncertain geotechnical parameters required for analysis of tunnel performance (referred to herein as the structure safety and serviceability performance of tunnel cross section) are represented as fuzzy sets. Given fuzzy input parameters, the performance of a shield-driven tunnel will be uncertain, which is expressed in this study as a fuzzy factor of safety, according to the analysis of vertex method. Then, the fuzzy factor of safety for a given design is used to evaluate the failure probability and design robustness, which are, in turn, employed in the proposed RGD framework. Note that a design is considered robust if the performance of the shield-driven tunnel is insensitive to the variation of its uncertain geotechnical parameters. Within the RGD framework, each candidate design in the design space is analyzed for its safety state (in terms of failure probability), design robustness, and cost. The goal of the RGD of a shield-driven tunnel is to bring the safety state to an acceptable level, while maximizing the robustness and cost efficiency simultaneously. To this end, a multi-objective optimization is performed and a Pareto front is obtained, which provides a trade-off that may be used to select the most preferred design. Through an illustrative case, the effectiveness and significance of this new robust design methodology is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-201
Number of pages11
JournalComputers and Geotechnics
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Cost
  • Fuzzy sets
  • Robustness
  • Safety
  • Shield-driven tunnel
  • Uncertainty


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