A novel explosive formulation that substitutes the use of ammonium nitrate (AN) with hydrogen peroxide (HP) as the main oxidising agent has been developed and tested as part of an Australian Coal Industry Research Program (ACARP) project. The main objective was to provide a step-change solution that has the potential to completely eliminate NOx fumes in blasting. The development of this HP/fuel-based explosive started with a comprehensive detonation characterisation program, consisting of unconfined velocity of detonation (VOD) measurements of samples at different diameters, densities and void sensitisation techniques. VOD results showed that the HP/fuel-based explosive mixtures behaved similarly to non-ideal commercial explosives; in that way mixtures could be tailored to achieve specific detonation performance targets. The next stage of testing in this development involved preliminary confined tests to evaluate the rock breakage potential of the HP/fuel-based explosive mixtures. Fully instrumented single-hole tests were conducted in a limestone quarry. Results from these preliminary trials confirmed the rock breakage performance of HP/fuel-based explosive mixtures. The confined VOD measured in one of the tests was 5100 m/s in a 102 mm diameter blasthole at a density of 0.96 g/ml. The corresponding borehole pressure measurement of this HP charge was 2.61 GPa with a detonation temperature of 2921°C. Based on near-field accelerations, both HP and ANFO charges displayed similar attenuation characteristics in the test conditions. Post-blast observations indicated that the breakage performance of the HP mixtures clearly reflected the in-hole detonation performance measurements obtained, confirming the ability of these explosive mixtures to both fragment and effectively displace the rock mass under evaluation. Further research work continues with the future commissioning of a prototype mixing and delivery unit, the successful completion and analysis of data from multiple-hole trials, and further characterisation work associated with product stability, reliability and performance under different geotechnical conditions.
Onederra, I and Araos, M, 2015. Detonation and breakage performance of a hydrogen peroxide-based explosive formulation, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 565–574 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).