Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Department of Mining Engineering, Balochistan University of Information Technology Engineering and Management Sciences, Quetta, Pakistan

2 School of Materials and Mineral Resources Engineering, University Sains Malaysia, Engineering Campus, Nibong Tebal, Penang, Malaysia

3 Department of Mining Engineering, Karakoram International University, Gilgit, Pakistan

4 Department of Sustainable Advanced Geomechanical Engineering, Military College of Engineering, National University of Sciences and Technology, Risalpur, Pakistan

5 Department of Mining Engineering, Institute of Technology Bandung, Indonesia

6 Department of Mining Engineering, Karakoram International University, Gilgit, PakistanUniversiti Technologi Malaysia


Support design is the main goal of the Q and rock mass rating (RMR) systems. An assessment of the Q and RMR system application in tunnelling involving high-stress ground conditions shows that the first system is more appropriate due to the stress reduction factor. Recently, these two systems have been empirically modified for designing the excavation support pattern in jointed and highly stressed rock-mass conditions. This research work aims to highlight the significance of the numerical modelling, and numerically evaluate the empirically suggested support design for tunnelling in such an environment. A typical horse-shoe-shaped headrace tunnel at the Bunji hydropower project site is selected for this work. The borehole coring data reveal that amphibolite and Iskere Gneiss are the main rock mass units along the tunnel route. An evaluation of the proposed support based on the modified empirical systems indicate that the modified systems suggest heavy support compared to the original empirical systems. The intact and mass rock properties of the rock units are used as the input for numerical modelling. From numerical modelling, the axial stresses on rock bolts, thrust bending moment of shotcrete, and rock load from modified RMR and Q-systems are compared with the previous studies. The results obtained indicate that the support system designed based on modified version of the empirical systems produce better results in terms of tunnel stability in high-stress fractured rock mass conditions.


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