At the initial stage of tunnel design, the tunnel stability can be assessed by different design techniques which are broadly classified into three categories i.e. Mathematical Analysis, Empirical Methods and Numerical Analysis. Mathematical methods or closed form solutions are more precise methods; however, its use is limited to simple geometries and almost impossible for complex geometries due to complex and tedious calculations involved. In practice, Empirical and Numerical Methods are usually used for stability analysis of tunnels. It should be noted that it is not the replacement of final design. Empirical design methods use information about the structural geology and other rock mass properties as input that can be easily obtained at the initial stage of a project. Numerical Methods commonly require mechanical properties, especially strength and deformation of rocks. Numerical methods are also considered as precise due to provision of allowance for variable inputs and geometry and having ability for sensitivity analysis. It is good practice to evaluate the stability of tunnels using at least two Empirical methods and validated through Numerical methods.
Part of the book: Slope Engineering