Deflagration – the future of blasting; what the hell is it?
We have all seen an explosion… they can be pretty dramatic. As a result of the detonation of explosives rock can fly everywhere – be sure to take cover! However, is this what we want, are we being clever or is there a better way? After all, when we are buying something to break rock we don’t want to waste hours today traipsing across the countryside picking up fist-size chunks that need to be used for rail ballast tomorrow; that material hundreds of yards from the crusher is our livelihood!
Detonation of explosives is a very rapid decomposition of material which is self-sustaining. It results in the production of vast amounts of heat and noise, gases that are often toxic and transmission of high intensity shock waves through the surroundings. The speed with which detonation takes place can mean it is extremely energetic and violent… it is explosive. In most instances it is uncontrollable. Confining the explosives energy within the rock is not easy.
Many blasters use the mantra: “if the hole is worth drilling then the hole is worth filling”, i.e. with more explosives. This only compounds the problem. To improve yield, controlled and efficient use of energy is what we desire; mastery of rock breakage is what we strive for. Can we do this another way?
Deflagration, by contrast, is a fast burn. Initiation of a firework-type propellant material results in the production of huge amounts of gas and through the confinement of this gas engineers can crack and move rock. It is controllable and safe. In many instances deflagrating materials can be used in place of explosives with fewer safety precautions and almost none of the regulatory restrictions.
So are deflagrating materials – propellants – the future of ‘blasting’?
There is no doubt, as security and safety concerns in the use of explosives increase, especially in urban areas, the use of propellants such as GasBlaster has grown. It will continue to do so. They will not replace explosives in all cases but for those quarrying, tunnelling, underground mining and demolition applications where controlled rock excavation is required, where explosives use is not permitted, where delicate blasting is required, when you don’t want to stop the whole operation, when very finely fragmented material represents waste, when you have a job that requires you to be on and off site quickly and you don’t want to spend back-breaking hours picking up rocks at the end of your shift, then propellants may be the answer.
Call Steve Bilton on +44 (0) 1916 375900 to see if we can use deflagration to solve your problem or look at our website www.controlledblastingsolutions.com