CERN Accelerating science

  Modelling the future FCC tunnel
  by Johannes Gutleber

The BIM tool dashboard: a user-friendly digital environment with 3D datasets and decision aid tools. Image credit: CERN and ARUP

Arup, a world leader in infrastructure planning and design, has been appointed by CERN to develop an efficient and cost effective planning and decision aid tool for the FCC tunnel engineering and geotechnical studies.

The first phase of the conceptual design study includes the feasibility assessment of an 80 km to 100 km long underground infrastructure for the collider. To support this study, Arup has been working closely with CERN and project partners Géotechnique Appliquée Dériaz S.A. and Amberg Engineering AG. A key element of this stage was the development of a dynamic Web-based BIM (Building Information Modelling) application. This application integrates numerous existing geological data sources, incorporating the geological, tunnelling and particle collider system constraints in a user-friendly digital environment. “To make the decisions, and make sure it interfaces with the existing tunnels, we decided to capture all the data in a 3D environment. We can change the physical parameters of the project in real time – looking at the geology, the size of the ring, the depth of the shafts, and the slope.”, says Matt Sykes, ARUP project director.

The BIM application builds upon an open source web-based geographical information system called ESRI. This approach allows integrating publicly available data on the geography and geology of the region, hydrology information and more data if needed.

The web application can be controlled via a dashboard (see Figure 1) that enables scientists to visualize the effects of parameter changes in real time. The use of an open-source platform ensures that extensions and improvements can be realized easily over a long study and design duration. Participants located all over the world can extract a spreadsheet, amend it and upload the revised version. At later stages, further datasets will be overlaid on top of the existing data, and the current, 2D visualisations would be extended to 3D.

“Several layouts for this new machine are under consideration, with the tunnel circumference ranging from 80 to 100 km. This tool being developed by Arup, will be crucial in the decision making process, to help decide which layout is most feasible”, says John Osborne, Civil Engineer at CERN.

This kind of dynamic tool, integrating numerous different data sets into a single, interactive application can help cutting costs and study times. It can also improve the quality and clarity of decision-basis information of numerous underground civil engineering projects which go beyond the particle accelerator community. Public transport and road projects, which need to consider diverse and ever-changing constraints ranging from technical over cost to environmental, legal and societal are primary candidates for this technology, bringing instantaneous decision aid to the desktop of the project key stakeholders.

Stay tuned for updates on the Future Circular Collider study. Register for the FCC week, the first Annual Meeting of the FCC study to be held between 23-27 March 2015.