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Tunnelling Under Cities, Advances in Research and Practice

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Nigel Bennee.

Urban congestion is a serious problem in many cities, so the creation of underground space, and in particular the development of underground transport, is environmentally essential for our future megacities.

How can tunnels be built in ground sometimes as soft as toothpaste? What can go wrong? Will buildings above be affected by subsidence? What else is underground already that might get in the way or be adversely affected?

Geotechnical engineering – the application of the science of soil mechanics and engineering geology – plays a key role in answering these questions.

The talk will highlight the critical importance of geology, and the development and application of the latest underground construction techniques. Examples of projects from around the world will demonstrate the size, technical challenges and complexity of modern underground construction. Some research advances and innovations at Cambridge will be described.

Protection from subsidence is critical and new ways to evaluate how buildings may be affected by tunnelling and deep excavations will be explained; innovative protective techniques will also be described.

Novel techniques for monitoring construction using fibre optic technology and wireless sensor networks will be presented, illustrated by some recent case histories.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Society for the Application of Research (CSAR) series.

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