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10. March 2011

The development of earth pressure shields: from the beginning to the present

Download the article from Geomechanics and Tunnelling 1/2011 for free

Martin Herrenknecht, Markus Thewes, Christoph Budach

The development of earth pressure shields started in 1974. The processing of the ground into an earth pressure support medium originally required that it mostly consisted of mixed and finegrained soil with at least 30 % silt and clay.

Since then, the process technology has been the subject of constant further development and the scope of application has been considerably widened. Currently more than 90 % of the shield machines worldwide are being used with active face support as earth pressure shields in the whole spectrum of soils, in hard rock and also in transitional areas with mixed face conditions. The current state of technology for earth pressure shields is based on a range of important development steps, which are summarised in this paper from the beginnings until today. Projects are described where important earth pressure shield innovations were used for the first time. The development of earth pressure shields is supplemented with an overview of the process technology, possible operating modes, areas of application and also current research work.