The use of computer blast simulations to improve blast quality
Atomic Energy of Canada Limited is constructing an Underground Research Laboratory (URL) as part of a comprehensive program to evaluate the concept of nuclear fuel waste disposal deep in crystalline rock formations. Careful blasting methods have been used to minimize damage to the excavation surfaces. Good wall quality is desirable in any excavation. In excavations required for nuclear waste disposal, the objective will be to minimize blast-induced fractures which may complicate the sealing requirements necessary to control subsequent movement of groundwater around a sealed disposal vault. The construction of the URL has provided an opportunity for the development of controlled blasting methods, especially for drilling accuracy and optimization of explosive loads in the perimeter and cushion holes. The work has been assisted by the use of blast simulations with the mathematical model Blaspa.
This paper reviews the results of a recent project to develop a controlled method of full-face blasting, and compares the observed field results with the results of a blast simulator called Blaspa. Good agreement is found between the two, and the Blaspa results indicate quantitatively how the blasting may induce damage in the final excavation surface. In particular, the rock in the final wall may be stressed more severely by the cushion holes than by the perimeter holes. Bootleg of the rock between the perimeter and cushion rows occurs when the burst-out velocity imparted to it by the explosive loads in the perimeter holes is inadequate. In practice, these findings indicate that quantitative rock stress and rock burst-out velocity criteria can be established to minimize wall damage and bootleg. Thus, blast simulations become an efficient way to design controlled blasting and to optimize quality of the excavation surface.
Blast design, Controlled blasting, Blast simultation, Nuclear waste disposal, Smooth wall blasting, Engineered excavation, Blast damage, Burst-out velocity, Tension wave, Brisance, Crack front, Permeability, Fragmentation, Half barrels