Seismic resistance performance of a utility tunnel in saline soil foundation based on new cementitious composite materials

Abstract Because soluble salt in saline soil dissolves with water, utility tunnels built in saline soil foundation are more likely to damage due to by groundwater and earthquake. In this study, new cementitious composite materials were developed by using slag, building gypsum, quicklime, and magnesia. The unconfined compressive strengths of the saline soil solidified by new cementitious composite materials and cement are investigated, and the optimum proportion of the different components of the new cementitious composite materials is determined. We found from microscopic characteristics of the saline soil solidified by the new cementitious composite materials and cement that the new materials could better absorb chloride ions. Finally, the new cementitious composite materials were applied to saline soil foundation reinforcement of a utility tunnel. By using the finite element method (FEM) and shaking table tests, it can be seen that the displacement, acceleration and extent of damage of the utility tunnel after saline soil foundation reinforcement using new cementitious composite materials significantly decreased; therefore, the new cementitious composite materials can improve the seismic behaviour of the utility tunnel and shows potential future engineering application value.