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CONTROLLED BLASTING In tunneling, road and railroad cuts, it is of the utmost importance that he remaining rock is of high quality

in order to avoid rockfall, rockslides and excessive maintenance work. Line drilling Line drilling is the earliest controlled blasting method used. The purpose of line drilling is to create a plane of weakness by drilling closely spaced, small diameter holes along the perimeter of the excavation to which the blast can break. Line drill holes are usually not over 75 mm in diameter and the spacing is 2 to 4 times the diameter of the hole.

The hole depth should not be more than 12 m, since deviation in longer holes may produce adverse results.

These holes are not charged.


Figure 1: Line drilling.

Presplitting This is the most successful and widely adopted controlled blasting method and creates a plane of shear on the desired line of break, exposing the half barrel of the blasthole after excavation (figure 2).


Figure 2: A presplit highwall. The holes are usually 50 mm to 100 mm in diameter in civil engineering applications whereas larger diameter holes (sometimes more than 300 mm in diameter) are proving to be successful in surface mining operations. The spacing between holes varies between ten to twenty times the hole diameter. The presplit shots transmit compressive shock waves, which, at their point of meeting between the boles, create a zone of tension, which fractures and shears the rock. This method has limited application in underground work.


Figure 3: Stress conditions in presplitting.

Figure 4: Decoupled charges for presplitting.


Perimeter blasting This type of blasting is generally used for underground blasting. However in surface blasting the same technique is

known as smooth blasting. In underground operations the perimeter holes of the backs (roof) of headings and tunnels are drilled along the design profile parallel to the direction of the excacation. Generally the spacing between the final lines of holes is less than 1.5 times the burden

Figure 5: Crack zone from blasting with conventional explosives.

Figure 6: Crack zone from perimeter blsting with Gurit 17X 500 mm (small diameter light explosives with low VOD)


Figure 7: Perimeter blasting arrangement In surface mining the decoupled perimeter holes are drilled on a closer pattern than the production blastholes. These holes are detonated last, in order to maximise the relief of burden. This reduces overbreak. Unlike normal blasting underground, the spacing S between holes in the same row for surface excavation is less than the burden. The usual relation is S = 0.8B.

Figure 8: Principle of smooth blasting in surface excavation.

Cushion blasting

Cushion blasting is applicable in surface mining where the object is to trim the excess material from the final high wall to improve stability. A single row of holes is drilled along the perimeter of the excavation. The size of the drillholes varies between 50 mm to 164 mm.

Cushion blastholes are charged with small, well disributed charges in completely stemmed holes, which are fired after the main blast is excavated.

The charges are fired with no delay, or minimum delay between boles.

Figure 9: Cushion blasting