There are around 10 casualties due to rock-fall at cutting face annually in conventional tunnel construction in Japan. As from the analysis conducted on the cases involving such casualties, workers were either killed or seriously injured when they works in front of or near the cutting face. For the purpose of evaluating the mechanism of rock fall at tunnel cutting face, this paper performed experimental tests which involved blasting to excavate a model ground of tunnel cutting face, and then analyzed the stress state which is in the cutting face by using Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulation. Based on the results, the tensile stresses remained even when the action of gas expansion due to blasting has completed. Therefore, it is suggested that rock falls might be induced because of the residual tensile stresses. The tensile stresses would gradually open small cracks between rocks and then rocks may suddenly fall after sufficient crack opening due to gravity.
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