Parent program

P1- Mass Underground Mining


 Breakage and fragmentation from a controlled concrete block test with a 38 mm diameter fully coupled charged

The justification for the HSBM development is best described in the PhD thesis by Guest (2005) and in papers by Ruest, et al. (2006) and Furtney et al. (2009). Broadly speaking the motivation for its development was a requirement by sponsor companies, initially De Beers (who were concerned about diamond damage from blasting), to model the complete blasting process and predict results based on known detonation and rock breakage physics (i.e. from first principles). 

This included taking into account explosives and rock mass characteristics, blast layout and confinement and the resulting shock, dynamic stresses and gases generated by the explosives. This development coincided with the period when mining and explosives companies were demanding blast designs with more predictable and consistent results than those from conventional empirical and/or trial and error methods. The numerical modelling and computing technologies had at the same time reached the level where they could be effectively applied to the study of the complex processes such as blasting (see Cundall et al. 2002). 

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Funding Body/Industry Partners

The industry partners are:

  • De Beers
  • African Explosives Limited
  • Codelco
  • Dyno Nobel
  • LKAB
  • Rio Tinto
  • Sandvik
  • Anglo American

Research Focus/Aims

The Hybrid Stress Blasting Model (HSBM) is a numerical platform or methodology for Blast Design and Optimization. While not a “day to day” design, layout and blast analysis tool, the HSBM enables the derivation of optimal blast design parameters for a given geotechnical set-up. These can be used as inputs into conventional empirical “day to day” blast design or and layout tools.

With the HSBM, the user is able to study the impact of different drill and blast design scenarios on blast results. This makes it a tool for blast “planning” or optimisation.

The software endeavours to model the known physics or mechanisms of the detonation, rock breakage and displacement from forces which include shock, dynamic stresses and explosives gasses. The blast volume is described in terms of its intact rock properties, structures including stresses where appropriate. The impact of water is not taken into account currently.

The blast outputs are micro and macro damage (near field), vibrations, fragmentation size distribution, movement and displacement. The degree of internal damage to individual fragments can also be calculated. This is important for comminution and heap leaching studies.

In terms of application the HSBM is designed for most common mining blasting scenarios including bench blasting, ring or stope, tunnel as well as sublevel caving blasting. The software has also been designed to enable studies involving controlled cylinder blasts.

Project members

Lead Investigator