Commercial blasting is an effort that requires safety and knowledge on the part of everyone involved, including project personnel, managers and even bystanders. Safety demands a clear understanding of the risks involved in commercial blasting — as well as knowledge and skill in how to use commercial blasting equipment and how to control commercial blasts. Here’s a look at some of the risks involved as well as the tools and equipment needed for safe blasting.
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What Are Explosives?
An explosive can be any mixture or compound of materials that rapidly decompose and release significant amounts of energy (formed as gases and heat) when initiated by friction, shock, impact or heat. Explosives typically fall into two categories: composite explosives and molecular explosives.
Composites are mixtures often used in rock blasting that contain self-explosives plus oxidizers or fuel. Ammonium nitrate-fuel oil is an example of a composite explosive. Molecular explosives only need a reaction with another molecule for combustion, with examples including nitroglycerin and trinitrotoluene.
Some explosives are actually initiating explosives, which simply means they are used to activate larger explosives in a controlled manner. The two main types of initiating systems are non-electric and electric. Non-electric initiating systems use slow-burning pyrotechnic compounds, shock tubes or detonating cords. Electric initiating systems transmit electric current between a source of power and a detonator.
The Physics Behind Blasting
Blasters use commercial explosives to create and control energy that is powerful enough to remove rock and other materials. Oftentimes, the results of a blast can be difficult to predict — though professionals plan and conduct significant testing to better understand the results, including the vibration and concussion related to a blast.
Professionals are skilled at using the orientation of structures and strategically placed blastholes to fracture surfaces without overbreaking. Safety precautions are put into place to exercise caution and allow for the reality that the expected result of any blast is never assured.
Designing Effective Blasts
Blast designers must take into account vibration and air overpressure as well as ground vibration and air blasts. They must use the right explosives in the right amount to prevent overblasting. Flyrock is another cause for concern. When the energy from a detonation displaces rock, rock that isn’t properly controlled can become projectiles that do damage to property and harm to personnel and bystanders.
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Using the right equipment can help prevent flyrock, as well as other undesired outcomes during and after a blast.
The Power of Blast Mats
At TM International, we equip commercial blasting teams with steel cable blast mats that are highly effective at reducing the amount of debris that may injure bystanders or team members, as well as reducing debris that may do damage to nearby property.
These mats are affordable, reusable and recyclable. They are fast and easy to install and remove — and they even vent gases to maximize your control over a blast.
Contact us today to learn more about blast mats and how they can maximize the safety of your blasting.