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Influence of Blasthole Delay Times on Fragmentation as well as Characteristics of and Blast Damage behind a Remaining Bench Face through Model-scale Blasting


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Author P Schimek, F Ouchterlony and P Moser


This paper summarises the findings of 27 model-scale bench blasts in magnetic mortar, which were conducted from 2011 to 2014 at the blasting site of the Montanuniversitaet Leoben.

The aim of the study was the investigation of the influence of blasthole delay times in small-scale bench blasts on the face characteristics and cracking damage created in the surrounding rock, which affects the fragmentation in subsequent rows.

The test specimens or blocks, which were produced out of magnetite concrete, were roughly 1:100 in scale to normal bench blasts. The confinement of the testing blocks at the sides and back ensured the similarity to normal bench blasts with regard to the wave transmission into the surrounding rock. The specimen contained three or four rows with five blastholes each and were shot row by row, with virgin (undamaged) material in row 1 and increasingly damaged or preconditioned material in the following rows.

The tested delay times varied between 0, 28, 73 and 140 µs, which corresponds to 0, 0.4, 1.0 and 2.0 ms/m of burden.

The evaluation of the material properties showed that the use of magnetite concrete eliminated the inhomogeneous behaviour of rock, but some unexpected differences of the individual production cycles were still detected.

The characteristics of the bench after each blast was evaluated along three horizontal lines out of a 3D model of the bench face. The tested delay time sequences of the virgin (first row) and single preconditioned blasts (second row) produced more overbreak for longer delays, while the third-row shots resulted in a smoothened surface independent of the chosen delay.

The introduced damage after every blast was evaluated by an observation of irregularities on the newly blasted bench face. The visible cracks at the top of the testing blocks were documented and divided into several crack families according to their angle, length and origin. The remaining block was broken out of the blasting site after blasting, cut into several horizontal and vertical slices and dye penetrant spray was used to visualise the cracks created. Some of the detected crack families showed an influence of the delay time. The calculated mean crack density and mean crack intersection density showed that longer delays resulted in a higher degree of damage.

The fragmentation results were well reproduced by the basic three-parameter Swebrec function. The observed improvement of fragmentation in the second- and third-row blasts was linked to the preconditioning of the burden for the following row while blasting the actual row. With the exception of the simultaneously initiated blastholes, the blasts showed coarser fragmentation for the shortest delays, while the longest delays generated the finest fragmentation.


Schimek, P, Ouchterlony, F and Moser, P, 2015. Influence of blasthole delay times on fragmentation as well as characteristics of and blast damage behind a remaining bench face through model-scale blasting, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 257–266 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).