A great deal of technical and research effort has been applied to the development of models to predict fragmentation from rock blasting. A number of quite useful empirical or engineering models are currently available to blasting engineers and consultants, while more sophisticated approaches using mechanistic and numerical descriptions of rock breakage continue to be developed and applied by researchers and explosives companies.
The fragmentation resulting from any blast will be heavily dependent on the properties of the rock mass being blasted; however, most empirical models rely on ‘rock factors’ generated from simple rock mass properties to describe the influence of the rock on the blasting outcome. In contrast, mechanistic models need explicit rock mass properties that require sophisticated laboratory measurements and detailed structural data if realistic outcomes are to be generated. The fragmentation modeller is caught between excessively simple rock mass descriptions for the empirical models and excessively complex data requirements for the mechanistic models.
This paper briefly reviews the basis of a range of fragmentation models and the rock mass properties on which they rely. Shortcomings in the way that the mining industry tends to characterise the blasting properties of rock are discussed and some practical approaches are described to quantify these properties in both operating and greenfield mining environments. Case studies are presented where specific additional breakage properties and modelling features have been needed to generate a useful description of the fragmentation achieved.
Scott, A and Onederra, I, 2015. Characterising rock mass properties for fragmentation modelling, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 149–160 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).