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Reducing the Effect of Wind on Airblast Measurement During Blasting


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Author K Henley


One of the greatest practical difficulties of measuring airblast occurs when a significant wind is blowing onto the microphone. Small windscreens are usually used to mitigate the wind noise on the microphone, but in some wind conditions, sound pressure levels (SPL) of over 120 decibel (linear) are frequently recorded. There are no specific procedures to mitigate the effect of wind noise when measuring airblast in any of the standards or guidelines pertaining to the measurement of airblast from blasting operations, other than the requirement to use an effective windscreen. A search for relevant literature was undertaken and measurements were taken over a period of six months at a test site using alternative microphone measurement methods. Previous researchers’ experiments with windscreens in silenced wind tunnels showed that wind noise can be reduced through the use of large diameter windscreens, and that at low frequencies, the windscreen size and the material type makes no difference to measured SPL values. Other researchers found that wind turbulence caused significant SPL measurement problems. A comparison with field data failed to explain the extremely high SPL recorded by the field microphones at wind velocities much lower than those used in wind tunnel testing. It has been concluded that turbulent airflow over and behind the microphone is a significant contributor to extraneous noise in airblast measurements in windy conditions. This turbulence can be generated by objects upwind of the microphone or by the microphone itself if the windscreen is ineffective. Reducing the wind speed over the microphone by placing it on the ground is the approach required by the international standard for the measurement of noise from wind turbine generators (IEC 61400–11). This paper presents data that illustrates the extent of the problem, reports on the trial of three different microphone mounting locations for measuring airblast from blasting and concludes that in windy conditions, microphones placed on the ground substantially avoid wind problems and do not reduce the measured SPL of the airblast.


Henley, K, 2015. Reducing the effect of wind on airblast measurement during blasting, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 485–492 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).