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BLAST

FRAGMENTATION IN
MINES
Presented by MGAYA FRANCIS, 2011-04-02327
GY424: ROCK EXCAVATION AND SUPPORT
Course Instructor: Dr. Kinabo

CONTENTS
• Mechanism of Rock breakage by Blasting
• Factors of Blast Design
• Effects of Controllable Blast parameters on Fragmentation
• Effects of Discontinuities on Rock fragmentation by Blasting
• Extent of Blast damage zone
• References

ROCK BREAKAGE BY BLASTING
• Blasting technology is the process of fracturing material by the use of
a calculated amount of explosive so that a predetermined volume of
material is broken.
• When an explosive charge is detonated, chemical reaction occur
which, very rapidly changes the solid or liquid explosive mass into a
hot gases.
• This reaction starts at the point of initiation where detonator is
connected with explosives and forms a convex like shock wave
(Compressive wave) on its leading edge that acts on the borehole wall
and propagates through the explosive column.
• Ahead of the reaction zone are undetonated explosive products and
behind the reaction zone are expanding hot gasses.

the quicker the energy release from explosives mass. The explosive loading of rock can be separated into two phases. quicker is the energy applied to the borehole wall. The degree of coupling between the explosive and the borehole wall will have an effect on how efficiently the shockwave is transmitted into the rock. . is applied to the borehole wall. and for a longer time period.. and for a shorter time period. • Rapid the detonation process. In other words. the shock wave and gas pressure phase.Cont. the energy is applied more slowly. • Rock fragmentation by blasting is achieved by dynamic loading introduced into the rock mass. • Conversely. faster the detonation velocity of the explosive. with a slower detonation velocity. in the form of a shockwave followed by gas pressure.

• When the shockwave first encounters the borehole wall. • Pumped or poured explosives will result in better transmission of energy than cartridge products with an annular space between the cartridge and the borehole wall. the compressive strength of the rock is exceeded by the shockwave and the zone immediately surrounding the borehole is crushed. • When the shock wave reaches the borehole wall the fragmentation process begins. compressible rock. ..Cont. • Strong competent rock will result in higher pressures than weak. but also the physical characteristics of the rock. • The pressure that builds up in the borehole depends not only upon explosive composition.

Cont. . beyond this crushed zone. This is the zone where most of the fragmentation process takes place.. resulting in radial cracking. its intensity drops below the compressive strength of the rock and compressive crushing stops. but seldom exceeds twice the diameter of the borehole. the intensity is still above the tensile strength of the rock and it causes the surrounding rock mass to expand and fail in tension. • However. • As the shockwave radiates outward at declining velocity. • The radius of this crushed zone varies with the compressive strength of the rock and the intensity of the shock wave. • The hot gas following the shockwave expands into the radial cracks and extends them further.

• Final-size fragmentation is usually obtained before any appreciable rock movement or throw occurs. . • Rock can absorb only so much energy and only at a certain maximum rate before it will fail.Important points learned through past experience • Within the range of conventional blasting. • The final displacement of the bulk of the rock is more a function of the duration of the gas pressure than its intensity. the physical characteristics of the rock are more important than the characteristics of the explosives used and can have a greater impact on the success or failure of a blast.

.FACTORS OF BLAST DESIGN • Blast designing is not a science. makes blaster to achieve perfection. studying and analyzing past practices in relation to rock strata & geology etc. valuable tool is the file of blast reports that he builds as he gains experience. but they also provide a wealth of information upon which he can draw as future blasting situations develop. but knowledge. for a blaster. Controllable and Uncontrollable factors. • Thus. • Not only do these provide evidence of the quality of his work. • The two main factors in Blast design are. . experience.

Bench height. •For the purposes of blast design. the controllable parameters are classified in the following groups: Geometric: Hole diameter.Controllable factors •These are the factors of blast design that are manipulated by the engineer. Physicochemical or pertaining to explosives: Types of explosives. Sub-drill depth. Hole depth. Stemming height etc. Time: Delay timing and initiation sequence.  . Burden. energy. Spacing. etc. strength. priming systems.

Cont.. .

dip. . and should be taken into account during Blast design.) Weather conditions Water etc. faults etc.Uncontrollable factors • These are design factors that are out of the engineers control. jointing system. • These include:  Geology Materials strength and properties ( by strength we mean the compressive strength) Structural discontinuities ( strike.

.EFFECTS OF CONTROLLABLE BLAST PARAMETERS ON FRAGMENTATION •Height of Bench ( H ) •Is the vertical height from the toe to the crest. and overbreak. with overbreak / backbreak around holes and toe problems. •The bench height limits the size of the charge diameter and the burden.5 . which will not only affect rock fragmentation but will also increase risk of generating strong vibrations. •If the bench height is very large. flyrock. the fragments will be large. Because the drilling pattern and subsequently the explosives consumption will not remain constant in the different levels of the blasthole. •The optimum ratio ( H / B ) is larger than 3. •If H / B = 1.4. there can be problems of blasthole deviation.

• These parameters depend basically upon the drilling diameter. the height of the bench and the desired degree of fragmentation and displacement. .. • Burden ( B ) and Spacing ( S ) • The burden is the minimum distance from the axis of a blasthole to the free face. • Burden values all fall in the range of 20-40 D. and spacing is the distance between blastholes in the same row. provoking an increase in overpressure of the air.Cont. • Excessive burden resists penetration by explosion gases to effectively fracture and displace the rock and part of the energy may become seismic intensifying blast vibrations. pushing the fragmented rock and projecting it uncontrollably. • Small burden lets the gases escape and expand with high speed towards the free face. noise and flyrock.

• Excessive spacing between blastholes causes inadequate fracturing between charges. • Spacing is calculated as a function of burden. delay timing between blastholes and initiation sequence. large blocks in front of the blastholes and toe problems. along with toe problems and an irregular face.. .Cont. • Very small spacing causes excessive crushing between charges and superficial crater breakage.

Cont. • In the case of jointed rock. otherwise fragmentation could be unacceptable if the joints and discontinuities are widely separated and form blocks in situ. • For large diameter holes. the use of small diameter boreholes is imperative. which necessitates smaller holes. aiding fragmentation. Intuitively.. smaller diameter boreholes result in a lower powder factor. a higher shock energy can be delivered to the rock mass. • Blasthole diameter ( D ) • Drillhole diameter plays an important role in the distribution of explosives in a blast. • In these cases it is recommended that the spacing between blastholes be smaller than the mean separation distance between discontinuities. • For small diameter holes. . due to a better distribution of energy in blasting. it has a major impact on fragmentation.

displacement and swelling of the muckpile. .Cont.. less subdrilling and better use of the explosive energy. lower vibration levels and less risk of toe appearance. • Blasthole Inclination • The benefits of inclined drilling are better fragmentation.

. • Stemming Material • If stemming is insufficient. • On the other hand.Cont. if the stemming is excessive. there will be a large quantity of boulders coming from the top part of the bench.. then there will be a premature escape of the gases into the atmosphere which will produce airblast and dangerous flyrock. poor swelling of the muckpile and an elevated vibration level.

a stemming length of more than 25D should be maintained in order to avoid problems of airblast.Cont. where D is the diameter of the borehole. cutoffs. • Whenever possible. flyrock.. varying between 20D and 60D. • Stemming Height ( T ) • The optimum lengths of stemming increase as the quality and competence of the rock decrease. . and overbreak.

• However. which will result in toe appearance and a considerable increase in loading costs. then the rock will not be completely sheared off at floor level.. causing drilling problems of the same and affecting slope stability in the end zones of the open pit. there will be excessive fragmentation in the top part of the underlying bench.Cont. . if subdrilling is excessive. • Subdrilling ( J ) • If the subdrilling is small.

the rock mass is considered to be homogeneous. •Blasting in a homogenous isotropic medium naturally does not result in the same fragmentation pattern as when the medium is permeated with discontinuities. In reality rock contains features like joints and other discontinuities. thus reducing the explosive induced stresses due to shock wave reflections. . fissures occur. •In most rock materials. •Generally all actual rock masses have different types of discontinuities spread throughout the rock mass. •The quality of the rock mass in which an excavation is being driven has a strong influence on the level of dynamic forces to which the rock can be subjected and sustain damage.EFFECTS OF DISCONTINUITIES ON ROCK FRAGMENTATION BY BLASTING •During designing of a blast. which have a pronounced effect on the blasting results.

toe problem decreases resulting in a smooth floor and throw of the blast increases resulting in scattered and low muck pile. ii) shooting against the dip and iii) shooting along the strike. more toe problems resulting in uneven floor and throw of the blast decreases resulting in higher muck pile profile. For the same reasons the backbreak is irregular. •Three cases which have to be considered are i) shooting with the dip. •When shooing against the dip one finds less back break. . when shooting along the strike one finds that the floor can be highly sawtoothed due to the different rock types intersecting the floor. •Finally. •While shooting with the dip back break increases.Orientation of Discontinuities •Blasting results are affected by the orientation of the rock mass structures.

Orientation of Discontinuities a) With Dip b) Against Dip c) Along Strike .

Aperture of Discontinuities • As joint surface separation increases. . as open joints hinder the crack propagation between the perimeter holes. it becomes difficult to get a smooth excavation profile from blasting. • On the other hand the chance of overbreak reduces if joints are tight and cemented.

• Because the gaps of the joints will not only hinder the propagation of radial cracks but will also provide easy passage for the gases to escape. . • The fragmentation and heave of blasted material will be reduced as a consequence.Frequency of Discontinuities • If discontinuities are present then the effective area of influence of a hole reduces. thus reducing the borehole pressure.

. .Cont.

• Overbreak results in the need to remove additional volumes of material at additional cost. • The quality of the rock mass in this zone can be significantly reduced. .EXTENT OF BLAST DAMAGE ZONE • The Blast induced damage zone can be defined as zone beyond the designed perimeter of a rock tunnel or excavation where rock mass has been damaged by blasting. Therefore it is important to deal with both scenarios through damage control guidelines. thus leading to reduction in strength and stiffness with ultimate consequence on the stability of the excavation. which both the contractors and owners strive to avoid. • The remaining damaged rock can pose long term stability problems.

Blast damage .

β depend on the structural and elastic properties of the rock mass and vary with each particular blasting site.. and R is distance in m. which is proportional to strain as a measure of the damage potential of the wave motion. .7 m/s.Cont. •The peak particle velocity can be predicted using the empirical equation: V = K Wα ⁄ R β • Where: V is the peak particle velocity in mm/sec. α. • The constants K. • The extent of rock damage can be approximately correlated with the peak particle velocity. • From extensive studies made of structural damage to buildings and constructions due to detonation in a drill hole of a single charge.7 and β = 1. we know that reliable predictions of damage can be made if we know the peak particle velocity. Typical values for hard rock masses are : K = 0. W is the charge weight in kg.4. α = 0.

.Cont. .

Some common explosives and recommended burdens used for tunneling in Sweden. .

• It is apparent from this example that a reduction of the damage zone can be obtained by a reduction of the charge concentration per meter of borehole.8 is normal. we find that this charge will result in a damage zone of about 0. This obviously results in increased costs for drill and blast operation.Example • For a hole diameter of 48mm and 17mm Gurit pipe charges. a burden of 0. but these are balanced by the advantage of a safer roof and decreased costs for grouting and maintenance. From figure a.3m. .

Lee . K. 2011. Z. •Sharma. Zahoor. Rock Blasting and Explosives. P. Persson. 2014.B. Abu Bakar. K. Tariq.REFERENCES •Erickson. Khan. . M. D. •Saiang. Investigating The Extent of Damage From a Single Blasthole. M. R. Blast‐Induced Damaged Zone Studies. P. 1994. U.D. •M. M. •University of Arizona Lecture Notes. M. S. Influence Of Geological Discontinuities Upon Fragmentation by Blasting.. 2006. •Holmberg. 2013. Mining and Blasting Weblog. J. Hayat.A.B.