Reuse of tunnel excavation material - real-time measurements and decision-making on the construction site of Research@ZaB - Zentrum am Berg - an underground research facility in Eisenerz, Austria

Irina Seidler

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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Tunnel excavation material is still usually dumped in landfills instead of putting the raw material excavated through construction to reuse. Valuable raw materials are mined as a byproduct of tunneling and should be used to their maximum extent. Landfilling is not cost effective when compared to reusing the material and also has a negative impact on the environment. With this thesis, an attempt for a holistic approach of reutilization of tunnel muck is made. For repurposing excavation material, it is important to analyze the material on site in real-time for decision making. Therefore, a part of this thesis is the evaluation and comparison of elemental and mineralogical analyzation methods on samples taken from the Research@ZaB. The purpose of the analytical unit is to analyze the excavation material in real-time. LIBS (laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy) and NIR (near-infrared) spectroscopy show great potential. Additionally, photo-optical particle analysis is introduced because grain size and shape of tunnel muck are a key factor for certain types of reuse. Taking into account these boundary conditions, the analytical unit for the Research@ZaB was planned. This unit consists of a jaw crusher, a sampler, a separator, a LIBS analyzer and a photo-optical particle analyzer. The flexible and modular design of the analytical unit allows for potential addition of other measurement systems including NIR spectroscopy. Furthermore, tunnel muck in Austria is treated as waste. This governmentally imposed regulation is a major issue when it comes to repurposing excavation material. It prohibits the direct reuse of excavated material. During this thesis, a closer look will be given on that matter. Additionally, two contractual models for the different reuses in relation to varying lithologies were designed. One model is a decision tree model the other one is a matrix model based on the tunneling class matrix according to ÖNORM B 2203-1. The work of this thesis is the first step towards a more sustainable tunneling industry but further research and a more detailed design of the analytical unit are necessary.
Translated title of the contributionWiederverwertung von Tunnelausbruchmaterial - Echtzeitmessungen und Entscheidungsfindung an der Baustelle von Research@ZaB - Zentrum am Berg - einer unterirdischen Forschungsanlage in Eisenerz, Österreich
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Wenighofer, Robert, Supervisor (internal)
  • Galler, Robert, Co-Supervisor (internal)
Award date23 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

embargoed until null


  • reuse
  • tunnel excavation material
  • real-time measurement
  • Zentrum am Berg
  • Research@ZaB
  • analyzation methods
  • LIBS
  • NIR
  • analytical unit
  • construction contract
  • contractual model

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