A New Technique for Predicting Rock Fragmentation in Blasting

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
The explosion of a charge in a drillhole sets the surrounding rock mass into vibrating stress wave motion. Except in the immediate vicinity of the drillhole, the dynamic stresses associated with this motion do damage only to pre-existing joints, cracks, or other weak planes, not to the rock material in between these. The joints are weak in tension, therefore the damage occurs as a result of tensile stresses. The initial damage process in the rock mass that ultimately breaks loose in front of the hole is similar to that in the remaining rock behind the drillhole. Recorded or calculated values of the vibration velocity and frequency contain a wealth of information about the combination of stress and strain that causes the damage. This paper outlines a new technique by which the peak strain energy derived from measured or calculated vibration velocity records is used to determine the local fragment size distribution. It combines two previously known and well tested techniques, namely the Holmberg-Persson calculation of the peak vibration velocity generated by an extended charge and King's calculations of the fragment size distribution as a function of the strain energy in rock crushing. Both of these calculations are based on experimental data and have been tested and found to agree well with actual conditions in their respective fields. Holmberg-Persson's calculated peak vibration velocities have been used successfully to predict and control damage to the remaining rock in cautious blasting, while King's calculation successfully describes the comminution of rock in mechanical crushing. Preliminary predictions of fragmentation in two types of rock blasting, a large hole open pit mining blast and a tunnel round, indicate that the new technique for fragmentation prediction has the potential for predicting fragment size distributions within the rock removed by the Blast.
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