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Wall Control Blasting


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Author D P Blair


There are two major aspects to wall control blasting – the potential for any blasthole to cause wall damage and the potential for a delayed sequence of blastholes to cause damage. The damage potential of individual blastholes is governed by standoff distance and charge weight. However, for locations sufficiently close to a highwall, dynamic finite element models and field measurements show that there is also a critical nature to those blastholes very close to the wall, over and above standoff distance. At many mine sites, the charge weight/standoff-distance is set by trial and error. Thus, a significant aspect of the present work is the determination of dynamic stress radiating from a blasthole. Unfortunately, the modelling and measurement of this dynamic stress is still faced with many difficulties. Typical models have questionable aspects, which casts serious doubt over their predictions, and it is shown that the Hustrulid Bar experimental technique does not correctly account for stress wave attenuation in extended media. In an attempt to solve the dynamic stress problem, the present work describes a model based on an exact solution under the assumption of viscoelastic material. The model takes full account of the rock mass elastic/viscoelastic properties, the explosive type, geometry and primer location and predicts a dynamic stress for direct comparison with the unconfined compressive strength of the local rock mass. This model predicts the standoff distance required to avoid damage due to a single blasthole. The behaviour of a delayed sequence of blastholes is analysed using an upgraded waveform superposition model, covering a range of initiation delay combinations, which predicts the peak particle motion (PPM) induced in the wall for each combination. This approach shows that there is no need to fire dedicated trim shots close to walls; all that is required is a carefully modified production shot. The mechanism of vibration screening is discussed, and its use in a superposition model highlights the potential of reverse firing (shield blasting) to reduce wall PPM. A conceptual model is also introduced to give a further insight to vibration screening and damage (via ground heave). This model predicts that a centre-lift blast will have a central heave profile and that a reverse-fired shot will produce a smaller power trough than that produced by a standard shot. It is demonstrated that the mechanism of presplit formation is not well understood; nevertheless, experimental evidence shows that presplits can be an effective method for reducing wall vibrations.


Blair, D P, 2015. Wall control blasting, in Proceedings 11th International Symposium on Rock Fragmentation by Blasting, pp 13–26 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).