Using Small-scale Blast Tests and Numerical Modelling to Trace the Origin of Fines Generated in Blasting
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Waste fines from rock breakage often negatively influence economics and environment. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) sponsors a project to investigate the cause of the fines by studying blast fragmentation throughout small-scale blast tests and numerical simulations. The tests include blast-loading confined granite and mortar cylinders by detonating cord with 6, 12, and 20 g/m of PETN. The blast-driven dynamic cracking at the end face of the cylinder opposite to the initiation point is filmed with a high-speed camera. The filming is followed up by an analysis of surface and internal crack systems and sieving of the blasted cylinders to quantify the amount of fine material created. The numerical simulations cover the blast fragmentation of a mortar cylinder. These simulations use Finite and Discrete Element Methods (FEM, DEM) with explicit time integration. The model cylinders are loaded by a pressure evolution acting on the borehole wall. Both methods produce realistic crack patterns, consisting of through-going radial cracks with crack intersections around a crushed zone at the borehole. Furthermore, the DEM models have also yielded realistic fragment size distributions (FSD). The paper covers the present progress of the ongoing project and related future work.