Xu, H.; Shao, Z.; Chen, C.; Wang, Z.; Cai, L.; Li, Z., and Huang, C., 2022. Characteristics and evolution of tunnel collapse in fully-weathered coastal red sandstone strata. Journal of Coastal Research, 38(2), 289–301. Coconut Creek (Florida), ISSN 0749-0208.
Understanding characteristics of tunnel collapse and its evolution is the premise of effective prevention and control. Fully-weathered coastal red sandstone is widely distributed in coastal areas, and the characteristics of tunnel collapse under this stratum are not clear. This paper studies characteristics of tunnel collapse and its evolution by conducting a model test of tunnel excavation in fully-weathered coastal red sandstone with digital image processing, where the whole process of rock mass failure, displacement, and strain variations are studied. The results show that: (1) the instability failure of the fully-weathered coastal red sandstone rock mass is a progressive process under the load. Three major collapses occur consecutively, where the first and the second start at the arch foot and arch waist, respectively; both manifested as cracks developing upward to the middle until the cracks penetrate. The third is mainly manifested as the collapse of rock mass block above the tunnel crown. (2) The displacement and shear strain around the tunnel increase first with the load and then stabilize. The vertical displacement is more significant than the horizontal displacement. Tunnel crown is where the vertical displacement increases the fastest and accumulates the most, which directly threatens the rock mass stability and thus deserves special attention. The arch waist has the most intense change of shear strain. (3) All three collapses end up forming a stable balanced arch. The three collapses show the evolution that the foot of the balanced arch gradually moves horizontally outward, and the height of the balanced arch gradually expands upward. The shape of the balanced arch can be well fitted by a parabolic function. Practical suggestions on tunnel collapse prevention and control of fully-weathered coastal red sandstone are also put forward.