US20120051843A1 - Tunnel drilling machine - Google Patents

Tunnel drilling machine Download PDF

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Publication number
US20120051843A1
US20120051843A1 US12/870,781 US87078110A US2012051843A1 US 20120051843 A1 US20120051843 A1 US 20120051843A1 US 87078110 A US87078110 A US 87078110A US 2012051843 A1 US2012051843 A1 US 2012051843A1
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Prior art keywords
drilling machine
tunnel
drill head
tunnel drilling
rocks
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Abandoned
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US12/870,781
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Mazen A. Ba-Abbad
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King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology KACST
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King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology KACST
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Priority to US12/870,781 priority Critical patent/US20120051843A1/en
Publication of US20120051843A1 publication Critical patent/US20120051843A1/en
Abandoned legal-status Critical Current

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    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E21EARTH DRILLING; MINING
    • E21DSHAFTS; TUNNELS; GALLERIES; LARGE UNDERGROUND CHAMBERS
    • E21D9/00Tunnels or galleries, with or without linings; Methods or apparatus for making thereof; Layout of tunnels or galleries
    • E21D9/10Making by using boring or cutting machines
    • E21D9/11Making by using boring or cutting machines with a rotary drilling-head cutting simultaneously the whole cross-section, i.e. full-face machines
    • E21D9/116Making by using boring or cutting machines with a rotary drilling-head cutting simultaneously the whole cross-section, i.e. full-face machines by means of non-concentric rotary heads

Definitions

  • the invention in general, relates to tunnel drilling machines. More specifically, the invention relates to a tunnel drilling machine which drills an epitrochoidal tunnel.
  • Tunnel drilling machines have long been used to drill underground tunnels through rocks and soil.
  • tunnel drilling machines have a circular drilling face which drills a circular tunnel.
  • These tunnels are used to lay automotive or train passes to provide means of public transport.
  • a circular tunnel may not be convenient for constructing automotive or train passes as these passes usually require additional spaces on either side of the tunnel to allow for cabling, lighting, maintenance, etc.
  • a circular tunnel may have to be drilled for each of the multiple automotive or train passes. Drilling multiple circular tunnels alongside each other may raise structural safety concerns and may also not be economically feasible.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a tunnel drilling machine in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a fixed gear driving an internal gear ring of a drill head with a gear ratio of 3:1 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIGS. 3A-3D exemplarily illustrate a frontal view of various stages of rotation of the drill head in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a method of drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil using the tunnel drilling machine.
  • the invention provides a tunnel drilling machine and a method of drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel using the tunnel drilling machine.
  • the tunnel drilling machine includes a tunneling machine body; a fixed gear operatively coupled to a frontal end of the tunneling machine body along a central axis of the tunneling machine body, and a drill head having a substantially triangular periphery and including an internal gear ring.
  • the internal gear ring is mounted on the fixed gear, wherein the fixed gear drives the internal gear ring around the fixed gear with a gear ratio of 3:1.
  • driving the drill head with a gear ratio of 3:1 allows the tunnel drilling machine to drill an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a tunnel drilling machine 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • Tunnel drilling machine 100 includes a tunneling machine body 102 and a drill head 104 having a substantially triangular periphery.
  • Tunneling machine body 102 includes a plurality of wheels 106 to allow tunnel drilling machine 100 to move through a plurality of degrees of freedom.
  • Wheels 106 enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to advance or retract in a tunnel. Also, wheels 106 may be controlled independently to extend sideways or vertically to allow tunnel drilling machine 100 to move through a plurality of degrees of freedom.
  • one or more of the lower rear wheels such as, a lower rear wheel 106 - 1 may be extended vertically downward while keeping the lower front wheel in a normal position to enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to drill in an angularly downward direction.
  • one or more of the lower front wheels such as, a lower front wheel 106 - 2 may be extended vertically downward while keeping the lower rear wheels in a normal position to enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to drill in an angularly upward direction.
  • one or more of the upper rear wheels such as, an upper rear wheel 106 - 3 may be extended vertically upward to enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to drill in an angularly upward direction.
  • wheels 106 may be individually extended sideways to cause tunnel drilling machine 100 to move in one of a left direction or right direction.
  • tunnel drilling machine 100 may be caused to move right by extending one or more of lower left rear wheel 106 - 1 and upper left rear wheel 106 - 3 .
  • movement of tunnel drilling machine 100 includes but is not limited to the above stated degrees of freedom. Alternate degrees of freedom may be achieved by independently extending wheels 106 in one of more directions.
  • Tunneling machine body 102 also includes one or more of a plurality of heating torches 108 and a plurality of nozzles (not shown in FIG. 1 ) at a frontal end of tunneling machine body 102 .
  • Heating torches 108 may be selectively activated to heat rocks.
  • one or more of the plurality of nozzles are selectively activated to spray a fluid at high pressure to quench the rocks. This heating and sudden cooling of the rocks causes the rocks to crack, thereby allowing drilling through the rocks.
  • Selectively activating heating torches 108 and the plurality of nozzles is further explained in conjunction with FIGS. 3A-3D .
  • nozzles are not shown in FIG. 1 , it will be apparent to a person skilled in the art that the nozzles may be placed concentric to the arrangement of heating torches 108 , placed adjacent to heating torches 108 , or placed in a random arrangement without deviating from the scope of the invention.
  • Tunnel drilling machine 100 further includes a drill head 104 having a substantially triangular periphery.
  • Drill head 104 is operatively coupled to tunneling machine body 102 through an internal gear ring mounted on a fixed gear with a gear ratio of 3:1.
  • the fixed gear drives the drill head with a gear ratio of 3:1 to trace an epitrochoidal path.
  • the mounting of the internal gear ring on the fixed gear is further elaborated in conjunction with FIG. 2 .
  • Drill head 104 having a substantially triangular periphery has a sloped front face and is one of a substantially pyramidal shape and a substantially conical shape.
  • the sloped drill head allows for gradual drilling and also to provide strong attachment points to a plurality of helically arranged cutting tools 110 , wherein cutting tools 110 are configured to crush the rocks.
  • the helical arrangement of cutting tools 110 provides the thrust force needed to drive tunnel drilling machine 100 through the rocks.
  • drill head 104 may also include one or more openings through which cutting tools 110 are cooled or cleaned by passing a fluid at high pressure. The fluid at high pressure is forced through the one or more opening by selectively activating the nozzles.
  • drill head 104 further includes a plurality of relief cuts 112 .
  • Relief cuts 112 may be shaped with a helix angle and may be cut along each side of the drill head having the substantially triangular periphery.
  • Relief cuts 112 functions to move drill remains away from drill head 104 during rotation of drill head 104 .
  • the one or more nozzles may be activated to spray fluid at high pressure to remove loose rock or soil. Once one or more of relief cuts 112 and the nozzles cause the drill remains to move away from the drill head, one or more suction holes on tunneling machine body 102 draw the drill remains into tunneling machine body 102 . The drill remains may subsequently be ejected from tunneling machine body 102 through an outlet at a distal end of tunneling machine body 102 .
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a fixed gear 202 driving an internal gear ring 204 of drill head 104 with a gear ratio of 3:1 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • Fixed gear 202 is operatively coupled to tunneling machine body 102 along an axis passing through a center of the frontal end of tunneling machine body 102 .
  • Fixed gear 202 may be operatively coupled to tunneling machine body 102 by means of a crankshaft. The crankshaft causes fixed gear 202 to rotate about a fixed axis.
  • the coupling between fixed gear 202 and internal gear ring 204 is based on the Wankel rotary engine, wherein fixed gear 202 drives internal gear ring 204 with a gear ratio of 3:1. Since internal gear ring 204 is coupled to drill head 104 , three rotations of fixed gear 202 causes one complete rotation of drill head 104 .
  • the substantially triangular periphery of drill head 104 in conjunction with the interaction between fixed gear 202 and drill head 104 enables drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel.
  • drill head 104 is associated with multiple axes of rotation and the rotation of drill head 104 along these multiple axes traces out an epitrochoid.
  • FIGS. 3A-3D exemplarily illustrate different stages of rotation of drill head 104 .
  • FIGS. 3A-3D exemplarily illustrate a frontal view of various stages of rotation of drill head 104 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • Fixed gear 202 drives drill head 104 with a gear ratio 3:1. This coupling between fixed gear 202 and drill head 104 causes drill head to rotate in an epitrochoidal path wherein two maximum extension points at the sides of the tunnel and two contraction points at the top and bottom of the tunnel are formed.
  • the epitrochoidal path traced by the drill head enables selectively activating one or more of heating torches 108 and the nozzles.
  • the exposed heating torches 302 illustrated in FIG. 3A may be activated to heat rocks when the drill head is in a position indicated by FIG. 3A .
  • one or more of the plurality of nozzles are selectively activated based on a position of drill head 104 .
  • the nozzles spray a fluid at high pressure to suddenly cool the heated rocks. Suddenly cooling the rocks causes the rocks to crack and allows for drill head 104 to efficiently drill through the rocks.
  • drill head 104 may include one or more vibration sensors.
  • the vibration sensors determine a hardness of rocks surrounding drill head 104 .
  • one or more exposed heating torches 302 are selectively activated to heat the rocks. For example, a limited number of exposed heating torches 302 may be activated if the vibration sensors determine that the surrounding rocks are relatively soft, whereas a larger number of exposed torches 302 may be activated for heating harder rocks.
  • the intensity of heat produced by exposed heating torches 302 may be controlled depending on the hardness of the rocks.
  • one or more exposed nozzles may also be selectively activated based on the hardness of the surrounding rocks.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a method of drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil using tunnel drilling machine 100 .
  • one or more heating torches 108 are activated to heat the rocks. Heating torches 108 may be selectively activated based on position of drill head 104 and also based on the hardness of the rocks as described in conjunction with FIGS. 3A-3D .
  • one or more nozzles are activated at step 404 .
  • the nozzles spray a fluid at high pressure at the rocks to quench the rocks. Quenching corresponds to the sudden cooling of the rocks. This sudden cooling of the heated rocks causes the rocks to crack, thereby allowing drill head 104 to drill through the rocks at step 406 .
  • Drilling is accomplished by rotation of drill head 104 around fixed gear 202 .
  • Fixed gear 202 drives drill head 104 with a gear ratio of 3:1 thereby allowing drilling of an epitrochoidal tunnel.
  • Activation of cutting tools 110 further enables gradual drilling through the rocks.
  • tunnel drilling machine 100 On drilling through rocks and soil, drill remains are moved away from drill head 104 by one or more of one or more relief cuts 112 and a fluid at high pressure as described in conjunction with FIG. 1 . Subsequently, one or more suction holes present on tunneling machine body 102 draws the drill remains into tunneling machine body 102 . The drill remains are then ejected from tunneling machine body 102 through an outlet at a distal end of tunneling machine body 102 . Tunnel drilling machine 100 is then advanced into the tunnel by means of wheels 106 and the above process is repeated.
  • the tunnel drilling machine includes a fixed gear which drives a drill head through an epitrochoidal path thereby enabling drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel. Due to the drill head tracing an epitrochoidal path, one or more heating torches and nozzles included in the tunneling machine body may be selectively activated. The one or more heating torches or nozzles are selectively activated based on the rotation of the drill head through the epitrochoidal path. Additionally, the epitrochoidal shape allows support against counter torque when rotating the cutting tools. Also, the epitrochoidal shape allows for wheels of the tunnel drilling machine to advance, rotate and retract the drilling machine.

Abstract

A tunnel drilling machine and a method for drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel is disclosed. The tunnel drilling machine includes a tunneling machine body, a fixed gear operatively coupled to a frontal end of the tunneling machine body along a central axis of the tunneling machine body, and a drill head having a substantially triangular periphery. The drill head includes an internal gear ring, the internal gear ring being mounted on the fixed gear, wherein the fixed gear drives the internal gear ring around the fixed gear with a gear ratio of 3:1 to form an epitrochoidal tunnel.

Description

    FIELD OF THE INVENTION
  • The invention, in general, relates to tunnel drilling machines. More specifically, the invention relates to a tunnel drilling machine which drills an epitrochoidal tunnel.
  • BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • Tunnel drilling machines have long been used to drill underground tunnels through rocks and soil. Typically, tunnel drilling machines have a circular drilling face which drills a circular tunnel. These tunnels are used to lay automotive or train passes to provide means of public transport. However, a circular tunnel may not be convenient for constructing automotive or train passes as these passes usually require additional spaces on either side of the tunnel to allow for cabling, lighting, maintenance, etc. Also, when multiple automotive or train passes are laid alongside each other, a circular tunnel may have to be drilled for each of the multiple automotive or train passes. Drilling multiple circular tunnels alongside each other may raise structural safety concerns and may also not be economically feasible.
  • Thus, there is a need for a tunnel drilling machine for drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel wherein, two maximum extension points at the sides of the tunnel and two contraction points at the top and bottom of the tunnel are formed.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
  • The accompanying figures, where like reference numerals refer to identical or functionally similar elements throughout the separate views and which together with the detailed description below are incorporated in and form part of the specification, serve to further illustrate various embodiments and to explain various principles and advantages all in accordance with the invention.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a tunnel drilling machine in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a fixed gear driving an internal gear ring of a drill head with a gear ratio of 3:1 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIGS. 3A-3D exemplarily illustrate a frontal view of various stages of rotation of the drill head in accordance with an embodiment of the invention.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a method of drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil using the tunnel drilling machine.
  • Skilled artisans will appreciate that elements in the figures are illustrated for simplicity and clarity and have not necessarily been drawn to scale. For example, the dimensions of some of the elements in the figures may be exaggerated relative to other elements to help to improve understanding of embodiments of the invention.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • Before describing in detail embodiments that are in accordance with the invention, it should be observed that the embodiments reside primarily in combinations of method steps and apparatus components related to a method and tunnel drilling machine for drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel. Accordingly, the apparatus components and method steps have been represented where appropriate by conventional symbols in the drawings, showing only those specific details that are pertinent to understanding the embodiments of the invention so as not to obscure the disclosure with details that will be readily apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art having the benefit of the description herein.
  • In this document, relational terms such as first and second, top and bottom, and the like may be used solely to distinguish one entity or action from another entity or action without necessarily requiring or implying any actual such relationship or order between such entities or actions. The terms “comprises,” “comprising,” or any other variation thereof, are intended to cover a non-exclusive inclusion, such that a process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises a list of elements does not include only those elements but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, or apparatus. An element proceeded by “comprises . . . a” does not, without more constraints, preclude the existence of additional identical elements in the process, method, article, or apparatus that comprises the element.
  • Generally speaking, pursuant to various embodiments, the invention provides a tunnel drilling machine and a method of drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel using the tunnel drilling machine. The tunnel drilling machine includes a tunneling machine body; a fixed gear operatively coupled to a frontal end of the tunneling machine body along a central axis of the tunneling machine body, and a drill head having a substantially triangular periphery and including an internal gear ring. The internal gear ring is mounted on the fixed gear, wherein the fixed gear drives the internal gear ring around the fixed gear with a gear ratio of 3:1. Here, driving the drill head with a gear ratio of 3:1 allows the tunnel drilling machine to drill an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil.
  • FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a tunnel drilling machine 100 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. Tunnel drilling machine 100 includes a tunneling machine body 102 and a drill head 104 having a substantially triangular periphery. Tunneling machine body 102 includes a plurality of wheels 106 to allow tunnel drilling machine 100 to move through a plurality of degrees of freedom. Wheels 106 enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to advance or retract in a tunnel. Also, wheels 106 may be controlled independently to extend sideways or vertically to allow tunnel drilling machine 100 to move through a plurality of degrees of freedom. For example, one or more of the lower rear wheels such as, a lower rear wheel 106-1 may be extended vertically downward while keeping the lower front wheel in a normal position to enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to drill in an angularly downward direction. Similarly, one or more of the lower front wheels such as, a lower front wheel 106-2 may be extended vertically downward while keeping the lower rear wheels in a normal position to enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to drill in an angularly upward direction. Alternately, one or more of the upper rear wheels such as, an upper rear wheel 106-3 may be extended vertically upward to enable tunnel drilling machine 100 to drill in an angularly upward direction.
  • In addition to enabling tunnel drilling machine 100 to drill in an angularly upward or downward direction, wheels 106 may be individually extended sideways to cause tunnel drilling machine 100 to move in one of a left direction or right direction. For example, tunnel drilling machine 100 may be caused to move right by extending one or more of lower left rear wheel 106-1 and upper left rear wheel 106-3.
  • It will be apparent to a person skilled in the art that movement of tunnel drilling machine 100 includes but is not limited to the above stated degrees of freedom. Alternate degrees of freedom may be achieved by independently extending wheels 106 in one of more directions.
  • Tunneling machine body 102 also includes one or more of a plurality of heating torches 108 and a plurality of nozzles (not shown in FIG. 1) at a frontal end of tunneling machine body 102. Heating torches 108 may be selectively activated to heat rocks. In response to heating the rocks by heating torches 108, one or more of the plurality of nozzles are selectively activated to spray a fluid at high pressure to quench the rocks. This heating and sudden cooling of the rocks causes the rocks to crack, thereby allowing drilling through the rocks. Selectively activating heating torches 108 and the plurality of nozzles is further explained in conjunction with FIGS. 3A-3D.
  • Although the nozzles are not shown in FIG. 1, it will be apparent to a person skilled in the art that the nozzles may be placed concentric to the arrangement of heating torches 108, placed adjacent to heating torches 108, or placed in a random arrangement without deviating from the scope of the invention.
  • Tunnel drilling machine 100 further includes a drill head 104 having a substantially triangular periphery. Drill head 104 is operatively coupled to tunneling machine body 102 through an internal gear ring mounted on a fixed gear with a gear ratio of 3:1. Here, the fixed gear drives the drill head with a gear ratio of 3:1 to trace an epitrochoidal path. The mounting of the internal gear ring on the fixed gear is further elaborated in conjunction with FIG. 2.
  • Drill head 104 having a substantially triangular periphery has a sloped front face and is one of a substantially pyramidal shape and a substantially conical shape. The sloped drill head allows for gradual drilling and also to provide strong attachment points to a plurality of helically arranged cutting tools 110, wherein cutting tools 110 are configured to crush the rocks. The helical arrangement of cutting tools 110 provides the thrust force needed to drive tunnel drilling machine 100 through the rocks. Additionally, drill head 104 may also include one or more openings through which cutting tools 110 are cooled or cleaned by passing a fluid at high pressure. The fluid at high pressure is forced through the one or more opening by selectively activating the nozzles.
  • In addition to cutting tools 110 and the one or more openings, drill head 104 further includes a plurality of relief cuts 112. Relief cuts 112, in an embodiment, may be shaped with a helix angle and may be cut along each side of the drill head having the substantially triangular periphery. Relief cuts 112 functions to move drill remains away from drill head 104 during rotation of drill head 104. Alternatively, the one or more nozzles may be activated to spray fluid at high pressure to remove loose rock or soil. Once one or more of relief cuts 112 and the nozzles cause the drill remains to move away from the drill head, one or more suction holes on tunneling machine body 102 draw the drill remains into tunneling machine body 102. The drill remains may subsequently be ejected from tunneling machine body 102 through an outlet at a distal end of tunneling machine body 102.
  • FIG. 2 illustrates a fixed gear 202 driving an internal gear ring 204 of drill head 104 with a gear ratio of 3:1 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. Fixed gear 202 is operatively coupled to tunneling machine body 102 along an axis passing through a center of the frontal end of tunneling machine body 102. Fixed gear 202 may be operatively coupled to tunneling machine body 102 by means of a crankshaft. The crankshaft causes fixed gear 202 to rotate about a fixed axis.
  • The coupling between fixed gear 202 and internal gear ring 204 is based on the Wankel rotary engine, wherein fixed gear 202 drives internal gear ring 204 with a gear ratio of 3:1. Since internal gear ring 204 is coupled to drill head 104, three rotations of fixed gear 202 causes one complete rotation of drill head 104. The substantially triangular periphery of drill head 104 in conjunction with the interaction between fixed gear 202 and drill head 104 enables drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel. Here, due to the 3:1 coupling, drill head 104 is associated with multiple axes of rotation and the rotation of drill head 104 along these multiple axes traces out an epitrochoid. FIGS. 3A-3D exemplarily illustrate different stages of rotation of drill head 104.
  • FIGS. 3A-3D exemplarily illustrate a frontal view of various stages of rotation of drill head 104 in accordance with an embodiment of the invention. Fixed gear 202 drives drill head 104 with a gear ratio 3:1. This coupling between fixed gear 202 and drill head 104 causes drill head to rotate in an epitrochoidal path wherein two maximum extension points at the sides of the tunnel and two contraction points at the top and bottom of the tunnel are formed.
  • The epitrochoidal path traced by the drill head enables selectively activating one or more of heating torches 108 and the nozzles. For example, the exposed heating torches 302 illustrated in FIG. 3A may be activated to heat rocks when the drill head is in a position indicated by FIG. 3A. Once the rocks are heated, one or more of the plurality of nozzles are selectively activated based on a position of drill head 104. The nozzles spray a fluid at high pressure to suddenly cool the heated rocks. Suddenly cooling the rocks causes the rocks to crack and allows for drill head 104 to efficiently drill through the rocks.
  • In an embodiment, drill head 104 may include one or more vibration sensors. The vibration sensors determine a hardness of rocks surrounding drill head 104. In response to determining the hardness of rocks, one or more exposed heating torches 302 are selectively activated to heat the rocks. For example, a limited number of exposed heating torches 302 may be activated if the vibration sensors determine that the surrounding rocks are relatively soft, whereas a larger number of exposed torches 302 may be activated for heating harder rocks. Also, the intensity of heat produced by exposed heating torches 302 may be controlled depending on the hardness of the rocks. In a similar manner, one or more exposed nozzles may also be selectively activated based on the hardness of the surrounding rocks.
  • FIG. 4 illustrates a method of drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil using tunnel drilling machine 100. At step 402, one or more heating torches 108 are activated to heat the rocks. Heating torches 108 may be selectively activated based on position of drill head 104 and also based on the hardness of the rocks as described in conjunction with FIGS. 3A-3D.
  • In response to heating the rocks, one or more nozzles are activated at step 404. The nozzles spray a fluid at high pressure at the rocks to quench the rocks. Quenching corresponds to the sudden cooling of the rocks. This sudden cooling of the heated rocks causes the rocks to crack, thereby allowing drill head 104 to drill through the rocks at step 406. Drilling is accomplished by rotation of drill head 104 around fixed gear 202. Fixed gear 202 drives drill head 104 with a gear ratio of 3:1 thereby allowing drilling of an epitrochoidal tunnel. Activation of cutting tools 110 further enables gradual drilling through the rocks.
  • On drilling through rocks and soil, drill remains are moved away from drill head 104 by one or more of one or more relief cuts 112 and a fluid at high pressure as described in conjunction with FIG. 1. Subsequently, one or more suction holes present on tunneling machine body 102 draws the drill remains into tunneling machine body 102. The drill remains are then ejected from tunneling machine body 102 through an outlet at a distal end of tunneling machine body 102. Tunnel drilling machine 100 is then advanced into the tunnel by means of wheels 106 and the above process is repeated.
  • Various embodiments of this disclosure provide a tunnel drilling machine and methods for drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel using the tunnel drilling machine. The tunnel drilling machine includes a fixed gear which drives a drill head through an epitrochoidal path thereby enabling drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel. Due to the drill head tracing an epitrochoidal path, one or more heating torches and nozzles included in the tunneling machine body may be selectively activated. The one or more heating torches or nozzles are selectively activated based on the rotation of the drill head through the epitrochoidal path. Additionally, the epitrochoidal shape allows support against counter torque when rotating the cutting tools. Also, the epitrochoidal shape allows for wheels of the tunnel drilling machine to advance, rotate and retract the drilling machine.
  • Those skilled in the art will realize that the above recognized advantages and other advantages described herein are merely exemplary and are not meant to be a complete rendering of all of the advantages of the various embodiments of this disclosure.
  • In the foregoing specification, specific embodiments of this disclosure have been described. However, one of ordinary skill in the art appreciates that various modifications and changes can be made without departing from the scope of this disclosure as set forth in the claims below. Accordingly, the specification and figures are to be regarded in an illustrative rather than a restrictive sense, and all such modifications are intended to be included within the scope of this disclosure. The benefits, advantages, solutions to problems, and any element(s) that may cause any benefit, advantage, or solution to occur or become more pronounced are not to be construed as a critical, required, or essential features or elements of any or all the claims. This disclosure is defined solely by the appended claims including any amendments made during the pendency of this application and all equivalents of those claims as issued.

Claims (19)

What is claimed is:
1. A tunnel drilling machine for drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel, the tunnel drilling machine comprising:
a tunneling machine body;
a fixed gear operatively coupled to a frontal end of the tunneling machine body along a central axis of the tunneling machine body; and
a drill head having a substantially triangular periphery, wherein the drill head comprises an internal gear ring, the internal gear ring being mounted on the fixed gear, wherein the fixed gear drives the internal gear ring around the fixed gear with a gear ratio of 3:1;
whereby driving the drill head with a gear ratio of 3:1 allows the tunnel drilling machine to drill an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil.
2. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 1, wherein the tunneling machine body comprises a plurality of wheels to allow the tunnel drilling machine to move through a plurality of degrees of freedom.
3. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 1, wherein the frontal end of the tunneling machine body comprises at least one of a plurality of heating torches and a plurality of nozzles.
4. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 3, wherein the drill head further comprises at least one vibration sensor, wherein the vibration sensor determines hardness of the rocks and soil.
5. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 4, wherein the plurality of heating torches are selectively activated based on at least one of the rotation of the drill head around the fixed gear and the hardness of the rocks and soil.
6. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 3, wherein the plurality of nozzles are configured to spray a fluid at high pressure.
7. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 3, wherein the plurality of nozzles are selectively activated based on the rotation of the drill head around the fixed gear.
8. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 6, wherein the fluid at high pressure is used to quench rocks.
9. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 1, wherein the drill head having the substantially triangular periphery is one of a substantially pyramidal shape and a substantially conical shape.
10. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 1, wherein the drill head comprises a plurality of helically arranged cutting tools.
11. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 3, wherein at least one of the drill head, the plurality of heating torches, and the plurality of nozzles are operatively coupled for drilling through the rocks and soil.
12. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 11, wherein the drill head comprises a plurality of relief cuts along each side of the drill head having the substantially triangular periphery, wherein the plurality of relief cuts are used to move drill remains away from the drill head.
13. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 11, wherein a fluid at high pressure is used to remove drill remains.
14. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 11, wherein the tunneling machine body comprises at least one suction hole on the frontal end to draw drill remains into the tunneling machine body.
15. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 14, wherein the tunneling machine body further comprises an outlet at a distal end of the tunneling machine body for ejecting the drill remains from the tunneling machine body.
16. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 10, wherein the drill head further comprises at least one opening to allow cooling of the cutting tools.
17. The tunnel drilling machine of claim 16, wherein the plurality of cutting tools are cooled through the at least one opening by selectively activating a plurality of cooling nozzles.
18. A method for drilling an epitrochoidal tunnel through rocks and soil using a tunnel drilling machine, the tunnel drilling machine comprising:
a tunneling machine body, wherein the tunneling machine body comprises a plurality of wheels to allow the tunnel drilling machine to move through a plurality of degrees of freedom, wherein a frontal end of the tunneling body comprises at least one of a plurality of heating torches, a plurality of nozzles, and at least one suction hole;
a fixed gear operatively coupled to the frontal end of the tunneling machine body along a central axis of the tunneling machine body; and
a drill head having a substantially triangular periphery comprising a plurality of helically arranged cutting tools, wherein the drill head comprises an internal gear ring, the internal gear ring being mounted on the fixed gear, wherein the fixed gear drives the internal gear ring around the fixed gear with a gear ratio of 3:1 to form an epitrochoidal shape;
the method comprising:
heating the rocks using at least one heating torch of the plurality of heating torches;
quenching the rocks by spraying a fluid using at least one nozzle of the plurality of nozzles; and
drilling the rocks using the drill head in response to heating and quenching the rocks.
19. The method of claim 18 further comprising removing drill remains using at least one of the plurality of nozzles and the at least one suction hole.
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Cited By (3)

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CN105507915A (en) * 2015-12-31 2016-04-20 卢兴耐 Rounded triangular pipe-jacking tunneling machine
CN105649644A (en) * 2015-12-31 2016-06-08 卢兴耐 U-shaped jacking pipe heading machine
CN108222958A (en) * 2017-12-29 2018-06-29 长安大学 A kind of tunneling boring rock tunnel development machine cutterhead burnt water and swash addi-tional crusher rock

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Cited By (3)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
CN105507915A (en) * 2015-12-31 2016-04-20 卢兴耐 Rounded triangular pipe-jacking tunneling machine
CN105649644A (en) * 2015-12-31 2016-06-08 卢兴耐 U-shaped jacking pipe heading machine
CN108222958A (en) * 2017-12-29 2018-06-29 长安大学 A kind of tunneling boring rock tunnel development machine cutterhead burnt water and swash addi-tional crusher rock

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