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You are on page 1of 10

Stephen H. Chung

Orica USA Inc., Englewood, CO

P.D. KatsabaGs

Department of Mining Engineering, Queens University, Kingston, ON, Canada

ABSTRACT

Researchers in the field of blasting have been trying to develop ways of predicting fragmentation in the

last few decades. The Kuznetsov equation estimates the average fragment size, XJ~, based on explosive

energy and powder factors. Cunningham calculates the uniformity of a fragment size distribution using

drilling accuracy, blast geometry and a rock factor A associated with a blastability index, which can be

estimated from the jointing, density and hardness of the blasted rock mass. Knowing the mean size and

the uniformity index, a Rosin-Rammler distribution equation can then be derived for calculating the

fragment size distribution in a blasted muckpile. Analysis of existing data has revealed serious

discrepancies between actual and calculated uniformity indices. The current integrated approach combines the Kuznetsov or similar equation and a comminution concept like the Bond Index equation to

enable the estimation of both the 50% and SOoh passing sizes (X& and X& ). By substituting these two

passing sizes into the Rosin-Rammler equation, the characteristic size (Xc ) and the uniformity index (n)

can be obtained to allow the calculation of various fragment sizes in a given blast. The effectiveness of

this new fragmentation prediction approach has been tested using sieved data from small-scale bench

blasts, available in the literature. This paper will cover all tested results and a discussion on the

discrepancy between measurement and prediction due to possible energy loss during blasting.

INTRODUCTION

The combination of Kuznetsov and Rosin-Rammler models has been widely applied to predict blastinduced fragmentation in mining and quarrying industries since its introduction (Cunningham 1983).

Because of the discrepancy observed between the predicted and actual results, field measurements are

often required to verify the effect of blast design parameters on fragmentation in a muckpile. Although

reliable fragmentation data from production blasts is difficult to obtain, there exist a few studies on

which an engineering model for predicting fragmentation may be tested.

Otterness, Stagg, Rho11 and Smith (1991) have presented data f?om 29 well documented small scale

bench blasts in dolomite with sieve analyzed fragmentation results. These data were used as the basis for

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 247

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the current study, which is intended to verify the accuracy of the above described fragmentation models

and to seek improvement if needed.

The Rosin-Rammler equation used by Cunningham (1983) for blasting analysis is described by the

following:

Where A is the fraction of material retained on screen, X is the screen size, Xc is a constant called

characteristic size, and n is the uniformity index, a constant which can be estimated as a function of drill

hole diameter, bench height, burden, spacing and charge lengths (Cunningham 1987).

The uniformity index typically has values between 0.6 and 2.2. A value of 0.6 means that the muckpile

is non-uniform (dust and boulders) while a value of 2.2 means a uniform muckpile with the majority of

fragments close to the mean size. The significance of the uniformity index is clear from Figure 1, which

provides size distribution curves having the same characteristic size but different values of uniformity

index.

The Kuznetsov equation relates the mean fragment size to the quantity of explosives needed to blast a

given vohune of rock. The equation is expressed as:

0.8

-19/30

(2)

Where X&I is the average fragment in cm, A is a rock factor, V is the rock volume in m3 broken per hole

(burden x spacing x bench height), Q and Qe are the mass of TNT and equivalent quantity of explosives

per hole, in kg, PF is the inverse of V/Qe defined as the powder factor (kg/m3 ), and A?KS. and the factor

1090 (Cal/g) are the absolute weight strength values of any explosive and TNT (Cooper 1996).

According to Clark: A=7 for medium rocks; 10 for hard, high fissured rocks; and 13 for hard, weakly

fissured rocks. Cunningham (1983) associated A with rock mass description (friable, jointed or massive),

joint spacing, rock density, rock uniaxial compressive strength and the Youngs modulus.

The fragmentation prediction models described above have been tested using the small scale blast design

data given by Otterness, Stagg, Rho11 and Smith (1991). Each set of sieved fragmentation result has been

best-fit by the Rosin-Rammler equation for determining the characteristic size (Xc )and the uniformity

index n. Figures 2 and 3 show the comparison of n and 50% passing sizes calculated from the

Cunningham model and the best-fit Rosin-Rammler and Kuznetsov equations.

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 248

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Figure 2 shows a large discrepancy between the n value determined from the Rosin-Rammler curve as

compared to that computed from Cunninghams estimated values of n. Figure 3 shows that the

Kuznetsov equation fits the experimental data quite well although some discrepancies exist. These

discrepancies are likely due to the fact that timing is ignored in Kuznetsovs equation and the

distribution of explosives is only considered in terms of the powder factor. With the use of more

accurate detonators, it is expected that these discrepancies will become more pronounced. The average

Rock factor A has been determined to be 11.2 from the multiple regression using equation (2). In fact the

Rosin-Rammler fits best to the sieve data and hence its coefficients, n and Xc , will be used as references

for comparison in the following study.

It is the aim of the current study to seek an improved method of predicting fragmentation. From the

analysis above, Rosin-Rammler fits well to the sieve data. However the Kuznetsov equation is sensitive

only to the powder factor and the mass of explosive used per blast-hole, for a given rock type and

explosive used. Blast design parameters such as timing and distribution of explosive energy are not

considered, despite their effect on fragmentation. The following equation, similar but more general than

the Kuznetsov equation, was assumed to be describing the average fragment size:

X5,, = AQea BD (SBR)y Ht

where A is a rock factor, Qe is the explosive mass per hole, B is the burden, SBR is the spacing to

burden ratio, H is the bench height and, t is the time between blastholes of the same row and, CX, p, y,

8, E are constants.

Non-linear regression analysis produced the following equation for the average fragment size:

where A=7.74. A further curve fitting to the normal Kuznetsov equation (2) yields A=1 1.2 and A@& =

900. The predicted average values are compared against the experimental ones in Figure 4. Clearly

equation (4) is a better predictor of average particle size than Kuznetsovs equation. However its

applicability beyond the bounds of the data used is questionable. Figure 5 provides a graph of the

average fragment sizes as a function of the delay in the blast for the case of the full scale blasts reported

by Stagg and Otterness (1991). Given the fact that the A factor is unknown, only the trend of the data is

of interest. Despite the fact that there is no obvious effect of the delay time in the observed data, the

relationship provided by equation (4) is reasonable given the findings of Stagg and Rho11 (1987) and

Katsabanis et al (1995). A comparison between predicted and measured data for the small scale

experiments by Stagg and Rho11 (1987) is given in Figure 6. It appears that at reasonably small delay

times the modified equation resulted in the right trend, however at increased delay times the average

fragment size tends to increase contrary to the exponential decay supported by equation (4). The effect

however is not pronounced. Since very few observations exist on the effect of delay time, it was decided

to drop it from equation (3). The resulting equation providing the best fit to the experimental data is:

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 249

3 of 10

with A=5.169. Clearly A is a variable closely tied to the model and, at the present time, can be found

through calibration.

As previously mentioned, there is a significant discrepancy between the prediction of the uniformity

index using the Cunningham equation and the experimental data. In fact most experimental data show

that the uniformity index is less than 1. This has significant implications in estimating oversize, as well

as fines, generated in the blast

The current approach suggests that if a formula for predicting the 80% passing size could be found, then

by substituting X& and X& into equation (1), both the uniformity index (n) and characteristic size (& )

can be determined.

Let us assume that we could apply the comminution concept like the Bond equation, which relates

energy to the degree of comminutibn as:

where E the energy input and XP and Xf are the degrees of fia@nentation of product and feed,

respectively (usually defined as the screen size in inches through which 80% passes), and & is a known

constant for a given type of rock.

The amount of energy required to reduce the material from infinite size to a product size of 100 microns

is called the Bond Index, Vi. This allows calculation of & .

If we assume for the time being that in blasting, the only important source parameter is the total energy

of an explosive charge and not its geometrical distribution or partitioning of energy into various types,

then we can state that the Bond equation allows one to predict the energy required to break a ton of rock

to the required degree of fragmentation &J . In blasting, @s so large that its inverse can be neglected.

Therefore, E is proportional to KBX&/~ . Then, if the total available work of the explosive, A WSe,

or absolute strength value, is used as a criterion for rock breakage one can obtain an expression for the

powder factor PF, i.e.

Since the Bond index is normally expressed in kWh/ton where 1 ton = 2000 lbs the units in the above

equation need to be adjusted to include the commonly used Bond Index, Wi . In the metric sy&em the

above is expressed as:

~~ = o.olwiX;;2

A WSe

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 250

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where Wj is expressed in MJ/tonne, X~O in m and A IV& in MJ/kg and the PF in kg/tonne.

If the experimental data of the blasts are considered, the given density of rock is 2.7 g/cc, then the

volume of one ton of rock is 0.37 m3. The powder factor in the first case is 0.97 kg/m3 or 0.359 kg/tonne.

Assuming the work index of the rock is 10 kWh/ton or 40.32 MJ/tonne and the absolute strength value

of explosive is 3.77 MJ/kg, then the estimated value of Xgo is 0.089 m. This somewhat smaller than the

actual SOoh passing which is 13.6 mm. This is however expected since energy losses occur during

blasting. Once these losses are estimated one may be able to predict X~O . The predicted X~O , not

corrected to energy losses are compared against the X~O from the Rosin-Rammler fit in Figure 7.

Intuitively, the predictions should be below the experimental values; however the Bond index and the

accurate partition of energy are not accurately known for the blasts of this exercise. Thus, this may be a

promising method for analysis. In fact the apparent resemblance between the experimental and Bond

predictions indicates that X~O is related to the energy consumption in the blast. If one assumes that only a

fraction of the explosive energy, A is available for comminution, equation (8) can be written as:

x

80

O.OlK~P(S~~)H 2

QeWWlf-

Or

(9)

where A is a constant related to the Bond index and the absolute weight strength. Function~will have to

be evaluated; however it should depend on burden, stemming length (or length of hole for a given

explosive mass) and spacing to burden ratio. Functionj-should increase with burden, length of hole and

spacing to burden ratio.

Therefore, an equation similar to the one predicting the average fragment size may be used. Non-linear

regression of the data available resulted in the following equation for Xgo :

with the value of A (rock factor) kept the same as in equation (5). The comparison between RosinRammler X~O and predicted values of X80 is shown in Figure 8

Then, by substituting X~O and X80 , one can determine Xc and n in the Rosin-Rammler equation (1) as

follows:

n=

0.842

The comparison bettieen the predicted and experimental uniformity index is shown in Figure 9. Clearly

the predicted uniformity index matches the experimental result better than Cunninghams equation.

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 251

5 of 10

The question is whether equation (10) can be reliable in other cases. For this reason the data reported by

Stagg and Otterness (1991) on full scale blast results were used. For the Manitowoc data the average

uniformity index from the Rosin-Rammler tit was 0.81 and the predicted 0.77 while for the St. Paul Park

quarry the average indices were 0.85 and 0.73 respectively. The results show promise, however further

testing is necessary.

CONCLUSION

Available data have shown a departure of the uniformity index from the well accepted Cunningham

model. Lack of available experimental observations have been a major obstacle in calibrating any

engineering model of blast induced fragmentation. It is however important that such experimental data

are gathered in order to avoid flawed assumptions and aid the engineering design of blasts. The present

paper used limited experimental data available in the literature to derive a predictive model. The

distributions predicted appear to be reliable. However due to the limited number of observations, the

model may not be complete and the trends produced by its use may not be generally applicable. The

Bond equation appears to offer an alternative, once the energy partition and losses can be established.

Clark, G.B., 1987, Principle of Rock Fragmentation, John Wiley and Sons, New York, Chichester,

Brisbane, Toronto, Singapore.

Cooper, P.W., 1996, Explosives Engineering, VCH Publishers Inc. New York.

Cunningham, C., 1983, The Kuz-Ram Model for Prediction of Fragmentation fi-om Blasting, First

International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, Lulea, Sweden, pp. 439-454.

Cunningham, C.V.B., 1987, Fragmentation Estimation and the Kuz-Ram Model - Four Years on,

Second International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, Key-stone, Colorado, 1987

Da Gama, D., 1983, Use of the Comminution Theory to Predict Fragmentation of Jointed Rock Masses

Subjected to Blasting, First International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, Lulea,

Sweden.

Katsabanis, P.D., Liu, L., Gow, G. Steeves, K. and Dombroeski, D., 1995, Blast Control with Accurate

Detonators, Proc. Eleventh Annual Symposium on Explosives and Blasting Research, Nashville,

Tennessee, International Society of Explosives Engineers.

Otterness, R.E., Stagg, M.S., Rholl, S.A. and Smith, N.S., 1991, Correlation of Shot Design Parameters

to Fragmentation, Proc. Seventh Annual Symposium on Explosives and Blasting Research, Las Vegas,

Nevada, International Society of Explosives Engineers, pp. 179-190

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 252

6 of 10

Stagg, M.S. and Otterness, R.E., 1995, Screen Analysis of Full Scale Production Blasts, Proc.

Eleventh Annual Symposium on Explosives and Blasting Research, Nashville, Tennessee, International

Society of Explosives Engineers.

Stagg, MS. and Rholl, S.A., 1987, Effects of Accurate Delays on Fragmentation for Single-row

Blasting in a 6.7m (224) Bench, Second International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by

Blasting, Keystone, Colorado, Society of Experimental Mechanics, pp. 2 lo-223

Van Zeggeren, F. and Chung, S.H., 1973, A Model for Prediction of Fragmentation, Pattern and Costs

in Rock Blasting, Proceeding of 15th Symposium on Rock Mechanics, South Dakota

+ n=l_48 xc=442

+n=O.NI Xe=44.2

-4- n=o.5 xc=44.2

++ n=20 Xc=442

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 253

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2 3 4

5 6 7

Blast Numtw

--+- R-R fit -S-- CVBC

Kuznetsov equations.

50

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 254

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Figure 5: Measured vs. predicted average fragment sizes for full size blasts.

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 255

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Figure 7: Comparison between 80% passing sizes from the Rosin Rammler fit of the

experimental data and the interpretation of Bonds equation..

Figure 8: Comparison between 80% passing sizes from the Rosin Rammler fit of the

experimental data and equation (10).

Figure 9: Comparison between the uniformity index from the Rosin Rammler fit of the

experimental data and equation (10).

2001G Volume 1 - An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation - P 256

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