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.

An Integrated Approach for Estimation of Fragmentation

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

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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 AND KUZNETSOV MODELS


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

Q116 = A(PF)-.s Qe116

(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.

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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.

THE CURRENT INTEGRATED APPROACH


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:

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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

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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-

XgO = AB4(SBR)2 H2 Qe-2 f -

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.

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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

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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

Figure 1. Effect of the uniformity index on fragmentation distribution.

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Comparison of Computed Uniformity index

2 3 4

5 6 7

8 Q loll12 1314 151617 18192o2122 2 3 2 4 2 6 2 6 2 7 2 8 29

Blast Numtw
--+- R-R fit -S-- CVBC

Figure 2. Predicted vs. experimental uniformity index.

Figure 3. Comparison of measured mean size with the computed X


Kuznetsov equations.

50

from the Rosin-Rammler and

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Figure 4: Measured vs. Predicted average particle sizes.

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

Figure 6: Measured vs. predicted average fragment sizes

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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).

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