Uses of Industrial Explosives in Construction and Mining

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Introduction

Industrial explosives play an important role in various construction and mining activities. From breaking hard rock in quarrying to demolishing old structures, explosives are widely used to efficiently break materials that traditional mechanical methods cannot. In this article, we will discuss some common industrial explosives and their major applications in construction and mining industries.

Types of Industrial Explosives

Dynamite

industrial explosives dynamite is one of the oldest and most commonly used industrial explosives. It was invented in 1866 by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel. Dynamite contains nitroglycerin or nitroglycerin-based explosives such as nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose absorbed in an inert, absorbent material. Dynamite is usually available in stick or cartridge form and offers a good balance of power and stability for common demolition and excavation jobs. It is extensively used for breaking hard rock in quarries, tunnel construction, and infrastructure projects.

Ammonium Nitrate Explosives

Ammonium nitrate-based explosives are less powerful than dynamite or ANFO but are safer, more stable and economical to use. They usually contain prilled or porous ammonium nitrate mixed with fuel oils or carbonaceous materials to form an explosive mixture. Common ammonium nitrate explosives include ANFO (ammonium nitrate/fuel oil mixture), slurry explosives and heavy ANFO. They find applications where the rock or material is not too hard. Ammonium nitrate explosives offer advantages like reduced fumes and availability in bulk bulk quantities.

Water Gel/Emulsion Explosives

Water gel or emulsion explosives contain an aluminium or ammonium nitrate oxidizer dispersed in a continuous phase of water using emulsifying or gelling agents. They burn or detonate more efficiently than conventional ammonium nitrate or dynamite. Emulsion and water gel explosives are being widely adopted in mining and construction as they are safer to use, cause less environmental damage and offer high energy and accuracy of blasting. They find common use in controlled blasting applications and quarrying of hard rocks.

Applications in Construction

Demolition of Buildings and Structures

One of the major applications of industrial explosives in construction is in demolishing old or damaged buildings, bridges and other structures. When mechanical methods cannot efficiently break the strong concrete, steel reinforcement or masssive buildup, controlled blasting using dynamite or ANFO cartridges is commonly adopted. Precise placement and sequencing of explosive charges helps bring the structure down in a planned manner without affecting surrounding areas. Demolition using explosives is much faster than traditional mechanical methods.

Rock Breaking and Quarrying

Breaking hard rock formations like granite, limestone etc is essential for quarrying activities to extract stones, aggregates and other raw materials for construction. Industrial explosives play a vital role in efficient rock fragmentation in quarries. Large scale blasting using dynamite, ANFO or emulsion explosives helps break the solid mass of rock into manageable pieces with sharp edges. This facilitates easy handling and processing of quarried material using mechanical equipment. Optimizing explosive placement and sequences allows controlled rock fragmentation for quarry operations.

Road and Infrastructure Development

Construction of roads, highways, tunnels, canals often require excavation and breaking of hard rock subsurface. Industrial explosives come in handy for such large scale infrastructure development projects involving tough rock strata. Precisely placed blasting helps break miles of hard rock or remove rocky outcrops with minimum disturbance, allowing faster subsequent activities like drilling, excavation etc using heavy machinery. This accelerates the project completion. Emulsion or ANFO explosives are commonly used for controlled blasting in infrastructure development work.

Applications in Mining

Coal and Metal Mining

Blasting with industrial explosives plays a pivotal role in efficient coal and metal ore mining operations worldwide. Both surface and underground mining activities extensively utilize explosives for fragmentation of consolidated strata and excavation. Powdered or bulk ANFO, slurry or emulsion explosives find widespread applications in coal seams, metal mines and open pit mining sites. Effective blasting helps separate economic grade ores or coals from waste rock in minable slices or fragments, facilitating mechanical removal and processing. It also aids development of new levels and mining of narrow deposits.

Underground Construction

Tunnelling for transportation links, water projects or underground mining requires precision breaking of hard subsurface strata while maintaining tunnel profile and stability of surrounding rock. Here water gel or emulsion explosives tuned for minimal fumes and ground vibrations are commonly used. Precisely controlled blasting allows efficient excavation of large tunnel cross-sections or development of mining levels deep underground with minimal risk. It helps accelerate the underground construction works manifolds compared to traditional mechanical methods.

Conclusion

In conclusion, industrial explosives have revolutionized construction and mining activities by efficiently breaking tough and consolidated materials like rocks, concrete and minerals. Their controlled and precisely engineered use in demolition, excavation, quarrying and mining helps accelerate project timelines and improve productivity manifold. Newer emulsion and ANFO formulations have also enhanced overall safety and environmental profile of these operations. Precisely engineered blasting continues to remain an indispensable technology supporting large scale infrastructure and mining projects globally.

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  1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
  2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it