Michael A. Mooney


Professor Mike Mooney directs the Center for Underground and the Underground Construction & Tunnel Engineering graduate degree program. His research group focuses on advancing technology for smart, rapid and cost effective tunnel construction and support of excavations in urban areas and in challenging ground. His group’s research involves integrating instrumentation into mechanical construction processes (tunnel boring machines, horizontal directional drilling), material behavior studies (using foams, polymers, cements to transform soil) and characterization of complex ground-mechanical system interaction using physics models and data driven machine learning. His group blends modeling, visualization and theory with extensive field experimental campaigns often embedded into actual construction projects across the US and world. In recent years, Prof. Mooney’s group:

(1) developed a real-time vibration monitoring technique to improve foundation construction at the seabed floor for the Venice lagoon restoration project;

(2) developed a real-time instrumentation-based boulder detection system for tunnel boring machines in Seattle and Toronto;

(3) advanced understanding of ground control using pressurized TBM tunneling and soil conditioning in Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York City; and

(4) developed machine learning algorithms to characterize the advance rate of tunnel boring machines in Seattle, Washington DC and Los Angeles.

Dr. Mooney teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in underground construction and tunnel engineering, instrumentation and monitoring, nondestructive evaluation and intelligent geosystems, and infrastructure engineering. Mike is a registered Professional Engineer and actively consults on construction projects in the US and internationally.

Recent Publications

(student authors underlined)

  • Kimmel, S.C., Bearce, R.G., Rinehart, R.V. and Mooney, M.A. Development of a Machine Integrated Strain-Based Contact Force Sensor for Pad Foot Soil Compactors, Terramechanics, 2014, 51, 31-41.
  • Gharahbagh, E.A., Mooney, M.A., Frank, G., Walter, B. and DiPonio, M.A. Periodic Inspection of Gauge Cutter Wear in EPB TBMs using Cone Penetration Testing, Tunnelling & Underground Space Technology, 2013, 38, 279-286.
  • Grasmick, J.G. and Mooney, M.A. Comparison of Multiple Sensor Deflection Data from Lightweight and Falling Weight Deflectometer on Layered Soil. Geotechnical Testing Journal, 2015, 38(6), 851-863.
  • Buckley, J., Mooney, M.A., Toohey, N., Planes, T., Alavi, E., and DiPonio, M. Cutterhead Protection in a Boulder Field using Real Time Vibration Monitoring. Rapid Excavation and Tunneling, San Diego, CA. June 4-7, 2017, 15 pp.
  • Planes, T., Mooney, M.A., Rittgers, J.B., Parekh, M.L., Behm, M. and Snieder, R. Time Lapse Monitoring of Internal Erosion in Earthen Dams and Levees using Ambient Seismic Noise, Geotechnique, 2016, 66(4), 301-312, doi: 10.1680/jgeot.14.P.268.
  • Bearce, R.G., Mooney, M.A. and Kessouri, P. Electrical Resistivity Imaging of Laboratory Soilcrete Column Geometry, Geotechnical & Geoenv. Engr., ASCE, 2016, 142(3), 10.1061/(ASCE)GT.1943-5606.0001404 , 04015088.
  • Planes, T., Mooney, M.A., Rittgers, J.B., Kanning, W. and Draganov, D. Monitoring the Response of a Sea Levee to Tidal Loading with Ambient Seismic Noise, Applied Geophysics, 2017, 138, 255-263, doi:10.1016/j.jappgeo.2017.01.025.
  • Schaeffer, K. and Mooney, M.A. Examining the Influence of TBM-Ground Interaction on Electrical Resistivity Imaging ahead of the TBM, Tunnelling & Underground Space Technology, 2016, 58 (82-98), doi:10.1016/j.tust.2016.04.003.
  • Kravitz, B., Mooney, MA,Karlovsek, J. and Hedayat, A. Void Detection in Two Component Annulus Grout behind a Pre-Cast Segmental Tunnel Liner using Ground Penetrating Radar, Tunnels & Underground Space Technology, 2018, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2018.09.032.
  • Parikh, D., Wu, Y., Peterson, C., Jarriel, S., Mooney, MA and Tilton, N. The Coupled Dynamics of Foam Generation and Foam Pipe Flow on Tunnel Boring Machines, J. Heat and Fluid Flow, 2019.
  • Mokhtari, S., Navidi, W., and Mooney, M.A. White Box Regression (Elastic Net) Modeling of Earth Pressure Balance Shield Machine Advance Rate, Automation in Construction, 2020, 115(103208), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.autcon.2020.103208.
  • Yu, H.J., Mooney, M.A and Bezuijen, A. A Simplified Excavation Chamber Pressure Model for EPBM Tunneling, Tunnels & Underground Space Technology, 2020, 103 (103457), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tust.2020.103457.
  • Mokhtari, S. and Mooney, M.A., Predicting EPBM Advance Rate Performance using Support Vector Regression Modeling, Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, 2020, in press.
  • Mooney, M., Yu, H., Gangrade, R. EPB Shield TBM Automation using the Autonomous Vehicle Framework, North American Tunneling, Nashville, TN, June 7-10, 2020.