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Vibration effects on underground concrete structures

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2014, Vol. 336, No. 1, pp. 402-413

Kuhnow, F.B.


When performing blasting operations in open pit settings, energy is released and transmitted through the geology. Some negative effects can have significant impacts on mining operations and adversely affect mine production. This technical paper presents recommendations for blast design to prevent damage due to ground motion from blasting on adjacent concrete structures of underground operations. The paper includes a case study describing a problem regarding an open pit mine expansion and asks whether production blasting will damage concrete shaft structures due to blast stress waves and blast-induced ground motion.

  Based on the results, a set of criteria is provided to implement in current and future mining operations that involve blasting near underground concrete structures. A set of techniques on how to improve vibration levels for safe operations is also presented. Knowledge of particle velocity and wave propagation for site-specific circumstances to determine a safe level of vibration is recommended. 

  Emphasis is placed on making use of electronic detonators and early delay detonators to achieve successful levels of vibration. A dynamic analysis is necessary to determine if vibration from blasting can damage the concrete shaft structure. 

  When reinforced concrete structures are subject to blast loading, both concrete and steel are subject to very high strain rates. As opposed to static loads, when subject to high strain rate loads these materials increase their strength significantly. In fact, they increase by more than 50% for reinforcing steel, by more than 100% for concrete in compression, and by more than 600% for concrete in tension. This finding is of significant importance in mining operations because it allows an increase in flexural capacity of individual members as a result of high strain rates. Therefore, an elevated ground vibration (PPV) or particle velocity is permissible when blasting takes place near concrete structures.