Predicting surface and sub-surface movement upon tunnel heading failure is essential for safety and contingency planning. This paper presents the results of a 2D physical and numerical modelling experiment of tunnel heading failure in cohesionless soil. By modelling six overburden to diameter ratios, the research seeks to investigate the behaviour, magnitude and failure mechanism of a tunnel heading. The physicalmodel uses displacement control to simulate tunnel heading movement. The use of transparent faced modelling containers allows video capture of the soil movement as the tunnel heading is displaced. From the captured video, Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) was then utilised to analyse soil movement. This then allowed close monitoring of the soil movement, which allows verification of settlement results and examination of failure behaviour. Numerical modelling using FLAC with FISH programming was then used for further comparison. This research concurred with past tunneling research that suggested a two stage failure mechanism, this is observable from the PIV and FLAC results. It is concluded that the current experimental and numerical procedures produce qualitative results that can be used to compare with results obtained from other research papers of the same area in the future.
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