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Settlements occur in microtunneling, or other tunnel construction methods in two forms: large settlements and systematic settlements. The cause of large settlements is the over-excavation by microtunneling machine leading to the loss of stability at the tunnel face and the formation of empty space above the tunnel. The occurrence of large settlements is attributed to the improper operation of the tunneling machine or rapid unexpected changes in ground conditions.
Systematic settlements are mainly caused by the collapse of the radial overcut between the jacking pipe and the excavation. The annular space between the jacking pipe and the excavation is essential in microtunneling and pipe jacking for the following purposes:
During tunneling, the soils may collapse onto the pipe, resulting in subsidence at the ground surface. Systematic settlements can be controlled by limiting the radial overcut and by filling the annulus with bentonite lubricant during tunneling, and with cement grout after tunneling is completed.
This question is taken from book named – A Self Learning Manual – Mastering Different Fields of Civil Engineering Works (VC-Q-A-Method) by Vincent T. H. CHU.