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ES94V - Tunnel Design

Module Leader: Dr Alan Bloodworth

BTS Champion: Michael Francis, Tunnels Practice Leader, Mott MacDonald

(15 Credits)


This module is one of a set of core modules for the MSc course in Tunnelling and Underground Space.


 num model

image courtesy of Dr Sauer & Partners



To instil an appreciation of the design process and design considerations, soil-structure interaction, lining design and effects on existing underground structures. To design underground structures using a rational approach and according to the CDM regulations.

Learning Outcomes: At completion, students will be able to:

  • Understand the principles of sustainability as a framework for making design decisions.
  • Understand the principles of soil-structure interaction and modes of deformation of tunnels and shafts through the use of empirical methods, simple calculations, analytical methods and numerical methods.
  • Know the sources of actions and limit states.
  • Evaluate ground conditions, assess risks, and design support requirements taking account of structural capacity, durability, water ingress/egress and fire using the Eurocodes.
  • Be able to design using materials including fibre reinforced concrete, plain or bar reinforced concrete, structural steelwork and timber.
  • Understand the limitations of empirical, analytical and numerical methods and be able to develop and implement a design strategy to solve a tunnelling problem.


ES95A Underground Construction Methods

Illustrative Bibliography:

Deane, A. P. & Bassett, R. H. (1995). The Heathrow Express trial tunnel. Proc. Instn Civ. Engrs Geotech.Engng 113, July, 144-156.

Mair, R. J. & Taylor, R. N. (1993). Prediction of clay behaviour around tunnels using plasticity solutions. Predictive Soil Mechanics, pp.449-463. London: Thomas Telford.

Mair, R. J. & Taylor, R. N. (1997). Theme Lecture: Bored tunnelling in the urban environment. Proc. 14th ICSMFE, Hamburg, Germany, Vol. 4, pp.2353-2362. Rotterdam: Balkema.

Mair, R. J. (2008). Tunnelling and geotechnics: new horizons. Geotechnique 58, No. 9, 695–736 [doi: 10.1680/geot.2008.58.9.695].

Presentations at the Sir Alan Muir Wood Memorial Symposium.

LUL G-055 (2007). Manual of good practice - Deep tube tunnels and shafts, issue A1, 126pp. London: London Underground Ltd.


15 CATS module: Test (20%), Exam (80%)