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Blasting Harmonics and Controlling Peak Particle Velocity


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Author A J Moore, A B Richards and T J Laing


Blastholes fired in a pattern with a constant initiation delay create a frequency in the ground vibration similar to that from a percussion instrument, such as a drum, in the air. A constant firing delay generates a prime or forcing frequency into the ground motion. The forcing frequency may then be modified by ground transmission characteristics into subharmonics of the forcing frequency. The moving vibration source between blastholes also creates a frequency shift because of a Doppler effect. Other wave interactions may form beats. The effects are exacerbated by the accurate firing times of electronic detonators. This paper demonstrates how observations of wavetraces and frequency spectral analysis were used to recognise:

Doppler effect and frequency ellipsoids

subharmonics (and sub-subharmonics) of the forcing frequency

beat formation that may double or triple peak particle velocity (PPV) levels.

Recognition of beats permitted techniques to be used to control ground vibration from coal overburden blasting to limits deemed to cause no further instability in a slip failure. An understanding of the science involved has practical application elsewhere that has been successfully applied to initiation timings to reduce PPV and adverse human and structure response from other blasting operations.


Moore, A J, Richards, A B and Laing, T J, 2015. Blasting harmonics and controlling peak particle velocity, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 527–532 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).