The most common structural defect of a tunnel in the operation period is the cracking of concrete lining. The insufficient thickness of tunnel lining is one of the main reasons for its cracking. This study studied the cracking behavior of standard concrete specimens and the failure behavior of tunnel structures caused by insufficient lining thickness using Cohesive Zone Model (CZM). Firstly, zero-thickness cohesive elements were globally inserted between solid elements of the standard concrete specimen model, and the crack development process of different concrete grades was compared. On this basis, a three-dimensional numerical model of the tunnel in the operation period was established. The mechanism and characteristics of crack propagation under different lining thicknesses were discussed. In addition, the statistics of cracks were made to discuss the development rules of lining cracks quantitatively. The results show that the CZM can reasonably simulate the fracture behavior of concrete. With the increase in concrete strength grade, the number of cohesive damaged elements and crack area increases. The insufficient lining thickness changes the lining stress distribution characteristics, reduces the lining structure's overall safety, and leads to the cracking of the diseased area more easily. When surrounding rock does not contact the insufficient lining thickness, its influence on the structure is more evident than when surrounding rock fills the entire lining thickness. The number of cohesive damaged elements and the size of the crack area increases significantly.
Keywords: CZM; concrete; crack mechanism; insufficient thickness; numerical simulation; tunnel.