Tunnel vision… greatly enhanced by research

TU Graz is digging deep, with several institutes making contributions to almost every important project in Austria. In addition to construction and geology, the research focus is on tunnel safety.

A tunnel from the inside. The walls are concrete.

Deep inside the Koralm tunnel: TU Graz researchers have taken up residence at this and similar construction sites to investigate important aspects of tunnel construction. © IGSM – TU Graz

Wulf Schubert from the Institute of Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling has his office on the ground floor of the Alte Technik building. His desk is adorned with numerous pencil holders made of stone. “Actually these are all drill cores from various construction sites we have been working on,” he says, laughing. “These here are from the Koralm tunnel if my memory serves me right. And those are from the Semmering.” The cabinet behind his desk contains many more rock samples and bears witness to the many mountains Wulf Schubert has had an inside view of. He has been working at TU Graz for 26 years and built the Institute of Rock Mechanics and Tunnelling from scratch in 1992: “I was snatched up directly from the construction site and put on a professional chair at the University, so to speak. Of course this means that I had a wealth of practical experience, plus I was very keen on exploring the theoretical background of tunnelling in greater depth.” As of 1 October, Wulf Schubert will be professor emeritus at TU Graz. In this capacity he will work on projects and give selected lectures.

Do you want to know in which important tunnelling developments Wulf Schubert and other TU Graz researchers were significantly involved, what the new the NATM (New Austrian Tunnelling Method) Engineering course for working students objects to and how structural health monitoring will be key to future tunnelling developments? Read the Planet research article about Tunnelling in the TU Graz News+Stories.