Slurry Tunnel Boring Machine (Slurry TBM)

Definition - What does Slurry Tunnel Boring Machine (Slurry TBM) mean?

A slurry tunnel boring machine (slurry TBM) is a type of underground excavator that removes excavated material by hydraulic means. It uses methodology that is suited to unstable terrain. It is considered a “soft ground” tunnel boring machine (TBM) along with the earth pressure balance tunnel boring machine (EPBTBM).

The slurry TBM is one type of large tunneling machines used in trenchless construction.

Trenchlesspedia explains Slurry Tunnel Boring Machine (Slurry TBM)

The selection of a tunnel boring machine (TBM) for a particular job is dependent on the type of soil being bored. A slurry tunnel boring machine may be used where there is a significant amount of groundwater. In fact, the presence of high water pressure may be the deciding factor for the slurry TBM. The technology involves a complicated circulation system that moves a semi-liquid mixture called slurry.

Tunneling shields are nothing new. The first use of the technology was by Marc Isambard Brunel in 1818. He used the method to create a tunnel under the River Thames. The world’s largest TBM is the Tuen Mun - Chek Lap Kok TBM, a slurry TBM. It is part of a Hong Kong project to create a tunnel 17.6-meters (58-feet) in diameter beneath the sea.

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