Understanding the need for pre-injection from permeability measurements: What is the connection?

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Pre-grouting ahead of tunnels has three main functions: to control water inflow into the tunnel, to limit groundwater drawdown above the tunnel, and to make tunnelling progress more predictable since rock mass quality is effectively improved. It helps to avoid settlement damage caused by consolidation of clay deposits beneath built-up areas, since towns tend to be built where terrain is more flat, due to the clay deposits. There are so many instances of settlement damage that the profession needs to take note of the need for high-pressure pre-grouting, to use micro-cements and micro-silica additives. The use of high-pressure injection may cause joint jacking, but this is local in extent when the rapid pressure decay away from an injection hole is understood. This effect is variable and depends on the geometrical parameters of the joints. This pressure-decay advantage must not be violated by maintaining high pressure when grout flow from the injection hole has ceased. The latter can cause damage to the grouting already achieved. Simplified methods of estimating mean hydraulic apertures (e)from Lugeon testing are described, and from more sophisticated three-dimensional (3D)permeability measurement. The estimation of the larger mean physical joint apertures (E)is based on the joint roughness coefficient (JRC). Comparison is then made with the empirical aperture-particle size criterion E > 4d95, where d95 represents almost the largest cement particle size. Depending on joint set orientations and on the available micro-cements, the decision must be made of which range of pre-injection pressure should be aimed for, using successive reductions of the water-cement ratio w/c. More simple estimation of permeability, also with depth dependence, can be made with the empirical link between a modified rock mass quality Q and permeability, which is termed QH2O. The value of this parameter can be based on core-logging or in-tunnel face logging. The 3D before-and-after-grouting permeability measurements have been used to justify the quantification of rock mass quality Q-parameter improvement, and the consequent increases in expected P-wave velocity and deformation modulus, for application in dam foundation treatment and its monitoring.




Barton, N., & Quadros, E. (2019). Understanding the need for pre-injection from permeability measurements: What is the connection? Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, 11(3), 576–597. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrmge.2018.12.008

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