Influence of modelling approach for reinforced concrete underground structures, with application to the CMS cavern at CERN

Ahmed G. Mubarak (Lead / Corresponding author), Jonathan A. Knappett, Michael J. Brown

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Representative modelling of reinforced concrete (RC) components in underground structures is essential for accurate assessment of structural performance (deformations and internal forces) within numerical simulations. This paper examines the implications of selecting different structural modelling approaches within the seismic (dynamic) finite element analysis of a buried structure of complex shape, using the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) Detector Cavern of the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, Switzerland, as a case study. Two alternate modelling approaches were employed to model the cavern lining: (i) a composite continuum approach, with the concrete and embedded reinforcement being explicitly modelled; and (ii) the use of a nonlinear elasto-plastic plate element. The pre-earthquake ground initial conditions were determined through simulation of the construction and detector installation operations consistent with field measurements from extensometers and internal survey of floor deformations. The results demonstrate the importance of adopting a non-linear continuum modelling approach in representing the RC lining under strong shaking events to avoid under-prediction of seismic actions at locations of potential seismically induced damage. Such an approach will be essential in 3D problems where multi-axial dynamically varying stresses are applied on the RC section. Finally, it offers a realistic approach in representing structures of complex shape and that contains volume and thick elements.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108725
Number of pages18
JournalSoil Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering
Early online date19 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2024


  • Numerical modelling
  • Seismic analysis
  • Nonlinear behaviour
  • Tunnel design


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