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Effects of Vibration

Ranjan Kumar Dahal, PhD, PostDoc, M.ASCE

Associate Professor,
Geodisaster Research Center, Central
Department of Geology, Tribhuvan
University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal

Effects of Vibration.
 Vibrations due to blasting and damage
criteria, controlled blasting methods, design
of blasting rounds, Air overpressure and Fly



 Bench blasting is often carried out in surface operations
and even in large underground tunnels, caverns or
 Small diameter holes (32-35 mm) are used for very small
operations whereas for larger operations hole diameters
range from 100 mm to 400 mm.
 Bench blasting operations are usually accomplished by
parallel rows of drill holes, detonating first the row
nearest to the exposed face to give better release for
successive rounds
 Small diameter holes are generally loaded with explosive
cartridges and larger holes are loaded with ANFO or
other blasting agents.


 The burden is the distance between the exposed
rock face and the nearest line of blast holes.
 The burden is kept about 30 times the hole diameter
with averages between 20 and 40.
 The sub-drilling is kept about 0.3 of the burden,
except that no sub-grade drilling is needed when
joints run parallel to the floor or when blasting on
coal benches.
 The length of stemming averages 0.7 times the
burden and ranges from about 0.5 to 1.0 of the
 Spacing is kept between 1 and 2 times the burden.


 Another important parameter is the sequence of
firing, which includes the number of blast holes
detonated in any one round and the time delay
between successive rounds.
 The sequence can be varied using delay
charges, to minimise vibration levels and
unwanted rock damage and to give a more
efficient pattern of rock removal.


 Underground blasting needs release of rock
within the confines of underground rock
 When blasting a rock tunnel or mine drift, the
first holes to be detonated (those with shortest
delays) create a cut, an opening toward which
the rest of rock is successfully blasted.
 Subsequent delays blast the rock into the cut in
a pattern of rings of increasing diameter until
they reach the perimeter, which is outside the
line of holes, often with reduced charge density.







Control of Blasting
 In rock excavation for civil engineering projects
and in quarry or surface mines blast vibrations
must be limited to minimise environmental
impact, damage to nearby structures, and
damage to the rock walls of the perimeter.
 In mining, high levels of vibrations can damage
the open pit slopes or underground pillars and
lead to subsequent problems of safety and
subsequent recovery of ore from the blast
affected areas.


 Empirical predictions of blast vibration are often in error.

 Seismographs can be used to record the vibrations
generated by blasting.
 Vibration levels can be reduced by limiting the charge
weight per delay to an amount sufficient to achieve the
 The most common criterion for prevention of structural
damage at the surface is that the peak particle velocity
should not exceed 50 mm/s.
 The frequency spectrum of the transmitted vibration also
plays a role in determining which blasts cause the most
 Frequencies in the range of 5-20 Hz are apparently most


Air transmitted vibrations

 Air transmitted vibrations (called airblast) also need to be kept
with in certain limits.
 Damage can occur, during above-ground demolition, during
unstemmed blasting of tunnels and shafts, and where large
quantities of detonating cord are exposed at the surface.
 Airblast over pressures greater than 0.7 kPa will almost
certainly break all windows.
 Even in the absence of damage, complaints and legal actions
resulting from annoying levels of noise and vibrations close
operations down.
 Damage to the remaining rock occurs when fracturing,
including crushing, radial cracking of rock, around the
blasthole takes place. It is caused excessive explosion
pressures, excessive burden, inadequate time between rows
in multi row blasting, or unfavourable orientation of the
blasting row relative to the jointing

Blasting operations safety

 Blasting operations need to be carried out with
the utmost safety of man, machine and
 Though much safer explosives and accessories
have become available, the explosives still need
to be treated with the utmost respect while
storing, transporting and handling them.
 Adequate safety precautions are essential to
carry out blasting operations without accidents.



Blasting operations safety - Medical Aspects

Now a days more consideration given to
medical aspects
Less toxic gases
Non-headache producing explosives
For opencast workings not much problem
For underground workings carbon
monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and fumes
are kept within acceptable limits
Some explosives cause skin irritation and

Controlled blasting methods

 Controlled blasting methods are used to
control adverse impacts such as
 Over-break
 Reduce ground vibrations
 Reduce fractures within remaining rock
 Reduce noise
 Reduce dilution / waste of ore etc.

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Following are the techniques of

controlled blasting:
 Line drilling,
 Trim (Cushion) blasting,
 Smooth (contour or perimeter) blasting,
 Pre-splitting,
 Selecting and employing various parameters
of blast design, using modern technology,
 Precise and accurate timing delays,
 Muffle blasting at critical and congested
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Line drilling:
 This system involves a single row of closely spaced uncharged holes along
the neat excavation line.
 This provides a plane of weakness to which the primary blast can break.
 It also causes some of the shock waves generated by the blast to be
reflected, which reduces shattering and stressing in the finished wall of the
host rock.
 Line drill holes are generally percussive hammer holes having spaced two to
four times the hole diameter, drilled along the excavation line. two to four
times the hole diameter, drilled along the excavation line.
 The blast holes directly adjacent to the line drill holes (buffer holes) are
generally loaded lighter (about 50% of primary holes) and are closely spaced
(about 50 to 75 %) than primary holes.
 This technique gives maximum protection to the host rock to preserve its
original strength.
 The disadvantage of this system is high drilling cost due to closed spacing
and results are often unsatisfactory because of poor hole alignment.

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Trim (Cushion) blasting :

 Like line drilling trim or cushion blasting involves a single
row of holes along the specified final excavation line.
 This technique generally uses 2 to 4 inch diameter holes.
 Holes are loaded with light charge, well-distributed,
completely stemmed and fired after the main excavation is
 By firing the trim holes with minimum or no delay between
holes, the detonation tend to shear the rock web between
holes and give a smooth wall with minimum over-break.
 It is better to put trim holes just before removing the final
 As compare to line drilling technique trim or cushion
blasting is simpler and economical as increased hole
spacing are used.

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Smooth (contour or perimeter)

 A technique used mostly in underground blasting, closely spaced drill
holes are loaded with decoupled charges and fired simultaneously to
produce an excavation contour without fracturing or damaging the rock
behind or adjacent to the blasted face.
 For promoting safety and economy in underground workings,
performance of blasting in headings, drivages, tunnels and stopes
becomes very important factor.
 An ideal blast results in a minimum of damage to the host rock
 An ideal blast results in a minimum of damage to the host rock with
minimum of over-break.
 Perimeter or contour holes are drilled along specified final excavation
limits and are lightly loaded than that of buffer holes and production
 The spacing is kept closer than buffer holes and production holes.
 As a thumb rule 10 to 12 times hole diameter in medium to tough rock and
5 to 6 times hole diameter in poor, fragmented rock are kept as spacing.

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 Results of Controlled Blast: Smooth walls,

Minimal fractures, Minimal overbreak, Less
support required, Better economy & safety.

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 Pre-splitting is the smooth blasting method in which cracks for the final
contour are created by blasting prior to the drilling of the rest of the
holes for the blast pattern.
 This is an effective way of restricting back-break and ground vibration in
large open pit, quarry blasting.
 Pre-splitting helps in isolating blasting area from remaining rock mass
by creating an artificial discontinuity along the final designed
excavation line / plane against which subsequent main blast breaks.
 A row of holes are drilled at the periphery (three sides) of the main
blasting block at a closer spacing, charged with lesser quantity of
explosives than the production blast and blasted prior to the main blast
in an effort to create a fractured line and a reflective plane at the
excavation limit or plane.
 Some of the shock waves from subsequent main blast are reflected at
the pre-split plane which results in arresting a considerable portion of
blast induced ground vibration generated in the main blast to propagate.

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Principle of Pre-splitting

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Muffle blasting:
 Fly-rock is another important adverse impact of
blasting operations, specially, when conducted in the
vicinity of dense human habitation / congested areas.
 Muffling or covering of blast holes properly before
blasting, is the common solution to prevent fly-rock
from damaging human habitants and structures.
 Generally, mat or mesh (40 mm x 40 mm size) made of
preferably of locally available steel ropes (5 to 6 mm)
are used for muffling purpose. Sand bags weighing 40
to 50 kg are kept over the mesh at an interval of 3 m.
 Efficiency of arresting of fly-rock depends mainly on
the quality of muffling system implemented.

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Using millisecond delay sequence and

use of in-hole delays in decks:
 Delay blasting (with millisecond delays) permits to divide the shot
into smaller charges, which are detonated in a predetermined
millisecond sequence at specific time intervals.
 Millisecond delay initiation of the explosive charge is a technique
used in most open pit, quarry, tunnel and underground rock
blasting operations.
 It serves to enhance fragmentation and direct rock movement for
increasing productivity.
 The major advantages of delay blasting are: (i)
Improvednfragmentation, (ii) Reduction of ground vibrations and
air blast, (iii) Reduction of over-break and fly-rock, (iv) Improved
productivity and lower cost.
 Charge weight per delay is the most important parameter for
controlling blast induced ground vibration and air-blast.

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‘Signature-Hole’ Blast Analysis for Vibration Control by using

Accurate Delay Timing Electronic Detonator System:

 Structural response to blast-induced ground vibration is and

phenomenon that has been analyzed for many years. Residential
structure’s level of response to blast induced ground vibration is
dependent on both the peak particle velocity and the frequency of the
 Researchers have shown that, above ground structures resonate
whenever they are excited by a vibration containing adequate energy
matching the fundamental frequency of the structure.
 The value of this frequency is mainly dependent upon the mass,
height and stiffness of the structure.
 The maximum response of a house to blast induced ground vibration
occurs whenever the frequency of the ground vibration matches the
natural resonant frequency of the house.
 When little or no energy at the resonant frequency of the structure,
the structural response to the vibration will be negligible

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Benefit of precautions:
 The ground vibration is restricted to ease nthe public
relation problem,
 The mines’ / construction’s techno-techno economics
are improved,
 Preservation of host rock strength and safety standard
are improved to a considerable level
 As far as possible modern techniques and equipments
are also to be used in order to mitigate the adverse
blast effects
 Regular monitoring is needed
 Training to the blasting supervisors on controlled
blasting techniques is very much essential.
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Blast Design

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Blast Design

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Blasting Nomenclature
 Free Face - open area at the rock air interface
- essential that broken rock has a place to go
to avoid energy turning to bad vibrations
 Row - a line up of holes running parallel to
the Free Face
 Spacing - the distance between holes in a
 Burden - the distance from a row of holes to
the free face - the rock that must be broken
up and moved by the explosive
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Drilling Patterns

Square Pattern - ease of drilling - easily explained to labor - not a

lot of judgement to lay out - just one number to remember
Spacing > Burden improves fragmentation - but not available here


Rectangular Pattern

Provides for spacing > Burden - Improves fragmentation if

you can get your drillers to put one down



Staggered Pattern
The picture can't be display ed.

Provides Spacing > Burden by a considerable amount

Problem of leaving stumps on quarry floor - next row takes them


And Your People Can Drill it Too!


Firing Patterns
 All shots need a free face for rock to move to
 With several rows must wait for material in
front to move to create a free face
 Lack of a free face turns throw energy in
 causes cracking behind holes - called
back break - can make future faces hard to
 25 to 40 ms would be common

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Plough Cut


Properties of the Plough Cut

 Gives long linear muck pile along the face
 Open Free Face Helps to Avoid Confinement
 Movement Perpendicular to Face Can
Maximize forward throw which may be
problematic for narrow benches
 Needs a Rectangular drill pattern to get
spacing > burden
 Also used with staggered drill pattern

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Peculiar Edge Delays on Plough Cut

 Plough Cut Often Fires the Entire Row at One

 Note That Edge Holes Seem to Fire Later
 Explosive Action Must Tear the Rock Away
of 3 sides - more open space eases the
burden to be pushed
 By delaying edge holes provides 2 free
faces to throw to

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Considerations in Firing
 Starts at One End of Shot and Spreads Across
 Can See Hole Initiate on Surface Before Break-
up begins at face
 Primer is generally placed in toe - Note That
heave begins at bottom
 Top Will Swell
 Usually causes top to slump down
 In Quarry the timing will be set to heave clear of
 Rock Pile may have larger pieces from
stemming zone
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The V Cut





Properties of the V Cut

 Firing Pattern Rips out a V Shape Wedge

 Firing Pattern Alters the Position of the Free
Face for Later Firing Holes
 Provides a 2:1 Spacing to Burden Ratio
with a Square Pattern
 Tends to Throw Material into Centrally
Collected Muck Pile
 Can be good for limited bench room

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More About V Cuts

 Central Collection Tends to Create More

Potential Confinement
 Real Caps don’t get the Delay Times Perfect -
called cap scatter
 If hole at apex of V doesn’t fire -
confinement for next row back will be

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Modifications of the V Cut

 Flatten the apex of the V - fire two maybe

three holes in a row at top of the V
 Spread the pile out a bit more
 More forgiving of a cap misfire
 Can see at some point Plough and V cuts
may melt into each other
 Fire Only One Side of the V at two free faces -
Called Row Echelon Form

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Row Echelon Firing Sequence



 RULE 1: The detonation velocity of the explosive
should match, as closely as possible, the sonic
velocity of the rock to be blasted.
 RULE 2: Generally select the most dense explosive
possible, consistent with water, loading conditions,
and desired results.
 RULE 3: Select explosives according to the
characteristics of the rock formation to be blasted.
 RULE 4 - When using slurry or water gel explosives,
always determine the critical temperature below
which the explosive will fail to reliably detonate

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 RULE 1: The distance between holes (spacing)
should not be greater than one-half the depth of the
 RULE 2: In any blast where there is hole-for-hole
delay, the spacing to burden relationship should be
seven to five.
 RULE 3: Stemming should be equal to the burden.
 RULE 4: Subdrill (if necessary) should be between .3
and .5 of spacing

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Next class
 Prepare for Assessment
 Self study: Air overpressure and Fly Rock
 Final assessment work:
 Download paper of Sang Ho Cho and Katsuhiko
722.pdf and prepare a note on recent development
on Rock Fragmentation Control in Blasting
 Reference paper: BLASTING DESIGN FOR
Strelec, Mario Gazdek, Josip Mesec
 Lecture notes in