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Tunnel and Underground Technology

Tunnel and Underground Technology

In close cooperation with the industry, SINTEF develops new technologies for tunnel construction and increased utilization of the underground.

Within tunneling and underground work, SINTEF develops new and improved solutions for construction and increased utilization. We assist in realizing and following-up of road and railway tunnels, mines and quarries, water power plants, oil- and gas storages, sports halls and other underground structures. Our expertise within rock mechanics, engineering and resource geology is applicable in the planning and execution of all kinds of constructions in and of rock.

The goal of SINTEF is to contribute to safe, sustainable and cost efficient solutions for existing and new facilities and mining operations above or below ground. Based on our research projects portfolio we possess special competence within:

  • Rock stress measurements, numerical modelling and monitoring of stability
    For more than 50 years SINTEF has performed rock stress measurements in Norway and abroad, in close co-operation with the Norwegian university of science and technology (NTNU). We have improved the measuring techniques and equipment for 2D "Doorstopper" overcoring, 3D overcoring and hydraulic fracturing. Combining laboratory testing and field observations with numerical modelling and stability monitoring enables us to optimize excavation methods in mines and layout of caverns and tunnels.

  • Water and frost protection, rock mass grouting and rock support with shotcrete and re-inforcement.
    Within the ongoing competence building project TIGHT - True Improvement in Grouting High pressure Technology for tunneling, the research and cooperation is directed towards development of improved understanding of the mechanism of grout flow in rock mass. Through such knowledge, new solutions will be developed that will reduce time and cost for rock mass grouting of caverns and tunnels arising improved foreseeability for all parties involved. In our dedicated laboratory, SINTEF is capable of recreating the thermodynamic interaction of tunnels, frost protection methods and the rock mass.

  • TBM – technology
    SINTEF has contributed in the development of revolutionary steel qualities with longer service life and better performance than present cutters, e.g. within the newly finalized innovation project FAST-Tunn – Feature Advanced Steel Technology for Tunnelling. Together with NTNU, we have also developed several methods for drillability, and a new and promising test method; "Rolling Indentation Abrasion Test" (RIAT), which all gives a measure for the rock resistance towards TBM penetration.

  • Sustainable resource utilization and energy efficiency
    Major cities world-wide are facing a lack of aggregates for the construction and building of infrastructure, whilst increased use of underground space take place. In a new research project, SINTEF and our collaborators will focus specifically on better ways of local utilization of excavated material, and alternative use of surplus material from mining, quarrying, tunneling and other infrastructure projects. Through the initiative Power Road, solution for both energy efficiency and energy production is sought in research cooperation with industry and public authorities.
Chief Scientist