Cutterhead torque is an important parameter for the design and operation of earth pressure balance (EPB) shields. Based on the analysis of several completed project cases from job sites, the conventional torque determination model based on experimentation proves rough enough to be improved. Composition and corresponding calculation method of cutterhead torque are presented, taking into account of cutterhead structure, cutting principle and the interaction between cutterhead and soil. Considering a Φ1.8 m EPB test machine in the lab, theoretical calculation following the improved model and test are carried out with three typical types of soils. Calculation and test results indicate that the cutterhead torque varies with geological conditions apparently, and the opening ratio of the cutterhead as well as earth pressure turns out to be the two most important factors in determining the cutterhead torque. The test results also show that the torque calculation formula for EPB shield tunneling can reasonably predict the excavation torque required by the cutterhead in clay soil tunneling, but for cohesionless tunneling, soil conditioning reduces the amount of torque necessary. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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