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Use of polymer concrete as a lining material for small diameter tunnels installed using Microtunnelling Machines

Project Description

Trenchless technologies are used to install buried infrastructure without the need for open cut excavations. One such technique is microtunnelling; this uses microtunnelling machines to excavate the bore whilst the lining is traditionally installed via pipe jacking or auto-erecting segmental systems. These lining systems have significant disadvantages associated within them that effectively limit the achievable drive length. An alternative would be to extrude a lining from the tunnelling machine as it drives forward. Traditional concretes do not generate the strengths required in the short term to make them ideal materials for extruded linings, although polymer concretes do and therefore could be a suitable material for such an application. There is significant uncertainty in the performance of polymer concrete that has been extruded and cured within the ground, therefore this proposed study aims to investigate the performance of polymer concrete samples in such conditions. This study will involve experimental and numerical simulations to further understanding of the performance of polymer concrete cast within surrounding soil to determine the suitability of this material for an extruded microtunnelling lining.

Informal enquires can be sent to Dr Alexander Royal ( and in the first instance should contain a covering letter and a CV.

To find out more about studying for a PhD at the University of Birmingham, including full details of the research undertaken in each school, the funding opportunities for each subject, and guidance on making your application, you can now order your copy of the new Doctoral Research Prospectus, at:

Funding Notes

For excellent applicants (very good first degree), there is the potential for funding for Home / EU students that will cover fees at the current Home / EU student rate and a stipend. Overseas students are welcome to apply but should note that they will be required to be either completely self-funding, or to make up the difference between Home and Overseas fees.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Civil and Construction Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 18.10

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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