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Transfer Function – New Method to Accurately Predict Resonant Frequencies of a Highwall


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Author R Osterman


As mining companies have to go deeper in search of ore and coal, the importance of protecting the highwall increases. Wall fatigue also increases with importance of the long life expectancy of a highwall, in particular the impact of fatigue influenced by resonance. Resonance is the tendency of a material to oscillate with greater amplitude at certain frequencies when exposed to a periodic force. Until recently, only dominant frequencies, either natural or induced, were all that could be measured through the fast Fourier transform of the blast-induced wave form.

This paper presents a novel method to accurately predict the resonant frequency of a highwall. In fact, the method can predict the natural frequencies between any two monitoring points placed in line with the source of impact, and as such it can be used to determine the resonant frequencies of any physical object. The method not only predicts the resonant frequencies of the material; it predicts the structural response of the total frequency spectrum. This method helps describe the response of a mechanical structure to excitation. It describes the structure’s efficiency in the use of energy, that is, whether energy is dampened or consumed in resonance.

The initial predictions have been so accurate that it made it possible to determine the fundamental frequency and the first six harmonics of a highwall in a northern Queensland coalmine. With the use of electronic detonators, the blast can be timed with a repeating delay to create an induced artificial frequency that has been determined to retain the least amount of energy.


Osterman, R, 2015. Transfer function – new method to accurately predict resonant frequencies of a highwall, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 233–244 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).