Subject: Tunnels and Underground Works

Scientific Area:

Civil Engineering


80 Hours

Number of ECTS:

7,5 ECTS



Overall objectives:

1 - Knowledge of the main concepts associated with the design and construction of tunnels and underground works, namely works executed in complex volcanic island of Madeira.


1 - The use of underground space over time. Brief historical approach to underground construction, to the current situation and tunnel engineering in Portugal. Presentation and brief analysis of the major problems associated with tunnels and underground works in general; Stroke (in plan, elevations and sections type).
2 - Geological and geotechnical studies at the design (importance and methodology of engineering geology, surface survey, depth survey, field and laboratory tests); Geological conditions which influence the planning and design of tunnels (local geology, discontinuities, stress state), geological and geotechnical cartography of tunnels during the construction phase.
3 - Geomechanical classification (Bieniawski, Barton and others); Geotechnical zoning.
4 - Phenomenology associated with the construction of tunnels: rock mass-support interaction, three-dimensional effects near the front of the excavation, plain simulation of three-dimensional effects, changes in stress state and strain in the surrounding mass, the main factors affecting behavior. Methods for analysis of the excavation front stability. Evaluation of structural strain in supports. Forecast movements associated with the excavation. Safety criteria to be adopted in supports.
5 - Construction methods. Mechanized TBM construction; Sequential excavation (NATM); Construction versus mechanized sequential excavation; Improvement and strengthening of rock mass.
6 - Instrumentation and observation works. Objectives; Quantities to be measured and instruments for observation; Location of measuring devices and frequency of data; Results interpretation.
7 - Numerical modeling of tunnels using commercial software.


L. González Vallejo, M. Ferrer, I. Ortuño, C. Oteo , 2002 , Ingeniería Geológica , Prentice Hall
J. Almeida e Sousa , 2006 , Projecto de Túneis ,
C. Lopez Jimeno , 2011 , Manual de Túneles y Obras Subterráneas ,

Assesssment methods and criteria:

Classification Type: Quantitativa (0-20)

Evaluation Methodology:
1 exam (50% in final grade) with theoretical issues and practical problems related to the subjects taught in the discipline - has objective to assess theoretical and theoretical and practical knowledge integrated in one exam that covers various topics of the course, which focuses on student's ability to relate parts of the syllabus. 2 practical works (25% each in final grade) aiming the study of phenomenology associated with tunneling through the numerical modeling of tunnels, by applying a commercial software. To pass the course the student has to acquire both: Final grade = mean {Exam, Pratical work} >= 9,5val; Exam grade >= 6,0val; Pratical work >= 8,0val; In Second and Third Season only the exam is recoverable.