Blasting - learning path - info sources

Precursors - steps to this interest

First step - bonanza!

Websearch - first. Given the subject, went for the very specific "electronic timed detonators blasting" - which I'd heard about as "transformational". Worked - found Electronic Detonators [external link] That Company's Products [external link] link had me "like a kid in a candy-store".
Lot of web-searching "reading-around" that "products list" start.

Books to 03 January 2024

Web-searched and found these:

before Christmas 2023

Blasting: A Handbook for the Use of Engineers, and Others Engaged in Mining, Tun Quarrying, Ellin
Oscar Guttmann M.Inst
Reprint of 1906 book

Contemporary to the 2nd industrial revolution - bringing compressed-air drilling and nitroglycerine-based high-explosives to Cornwall (and all other parts of the World). When the mines in Cornwall became few but much bigger - the era associated with the famous named big vertical shafts ("Victory Shaft" (Geevor); "Robinson's Shaft" (South Crofty); "Williams Shaft" (Dolcoath); "Marriott's Shaft" (South Wheal Frances); etc).

So this book is "the novel leading edge of technology" of the time and very relevant to Cornwall's mining.

on return from Christmas 2023

Major Miner: The Incredible Journey of a Mutinous Youth in India to Professor of Mining in Australia
1 Sept. 2012
Gour C. Sen

Arrived first of the Gour Sen books.

Read while getting through a cold (virus) : needed intermediate between heavy technical and "socially well adjusted" cultural reading - hence started on this biography.

Sen was from an essentially middle-class background, contrary to how his story is presented, but upsets in his life lead him to mining as a subject and he got involved in the detail - reluctantly at first then "it lit-up in him" and he became this major contributor to blasting technology (if I get the picture right).

arrived 03 January 2024

Blasting Technology for Mining and Civil Engineers
1 Jun. 1995
Gour C. Sen

Sen's technical book - the point to me of Sen as an author.
I have the impression a couple of the scientific analyses of what explosives do and how they work to give blasting are helpful.

Hints from within Carn Brea Mining Society - mid-December 2023

Currently-working member gave me the mainly "Aussie" connection.

Got me "hot on the trail" finding a lot of Company brochures - products; applications; case-studies where they proudly show how they optimised blasting for awkward or economic-margin-critical examples; etc.

On the NNTP newsgroups

NNTP == Network News Transfer Protocol [Wikipedia external link]

There's still some live and if you have an OCD [Obsessive / Compulsive Disorder] or extremely "Aspergic" interest you can be the beneficiary of a treasure-trove of knowledge on niche / arcane topics...

On Sunday 17th December 2023 I posed a question to a group I interact with on metalworking and welding questions : does anyone knows about blasting small tunnels in hard rock? I got amazing detail and leads from a surprising plurality of respondents.

On drill-and-blast tunneling techniques

On the 20th December I got a response with this valuable link about tunneling [external link].
Which served significantly in my learning path.
At that juncture I could hardly understand a word of it. By the 2nd of January 2024 I was reading through it feeling widespread comprehension. Given all other reading in that time interval.

wide view on blasting materials

These are very historical. But being from the leading-edge you get admitted to seeing some recurrent themes which is seems it would be wise to know.

By Hudson Maxim, of the Maxim family known for several famous inventions:
Dynamite Stories and some interesting facts about explosives (1916) [external link]

By George M. Mowbray
Tri-nitro-glycerine as applied in the Hoosac Tunnel, Submarine Blasting, etc. (1872) [external link]

At time of writing - Wednesday 03 January 2024 16:04 - yet to read this.

So this from 1872 is right on the earliest edge of trying to use nitroglycerine (NG) - the first "high-explosive" (its ability to shatter and burst is its predominant characteristic). So they had no choice but to use it. But horrendously accident-prone before answers were found taming NG blasting media to be safely handleable given strict but manageable precautions.

Capitalising on Christmas "asperg'ing"

New Year comes...

Christmas had given time and endless "colds" + bleak weather had me indoors keeping very warm absolved to do "aspergic" reading and messaging.

Back at Condurrow mine

04Jan2024 - back at mine again. Some discussion + copy of an Australian manufacturer's tunnel-blasting guidance.

Social club - in among the experts

04Jan2024 evening. Classic industrial-town social club - informal-group meeting there. Being in Pool (Camborne, Redruth) - they are the ex tin miners.
Blokes drinking beer and telling me the realities. Tin miners from Geevor and South Crofty, working up to the 1998 closure (but soon to restart - South Crofty now being pumped - palpable joy).
All so far got me to the "Right...". The detail! What works; what doesn't work. Nuances in this place; nuances in that place. What you really do to do that. Knowing when it's right; what gone-wrong looks like. The reading and communicating go me to the entry to a "blast-off" :-).

There are many others...

As I got into detail the links and outright knowledge-with-experience took me ever vastly further. What I have given so far is an overview.

And there we have it...

Likely that's it for the Christmas / winter "asperg'ing" campaign.
I now have some overview of the ideas, can engage with discussions about the topic, and have starting-points for if in future have to go off and study-up a topic.

The need now is some mentoring and practical experience of what the actual activity is like.

Realistically - just maybe it might be possible to do some learning-only blasts. Drilling a blasting pattern of holes then load and detonate just one hole at a time would

Inspecting after the one blast would show how well you have done. Reading tells me that in tunneling the initial "cut" is crucial. You could see the formation (or not!) of the initial longitudinal void with each blast. Whether the granite is collapsing into and being ejected out of the reamed non-charged holes. etc. See the sequential progression of blasting the cut, not milliseconds apart but loaded and fired separately an hour apart.

Seeing a "cut" - a central very few tens-of-centimetres square hole metres deep into the granite - would be quite an achievement...

Could it happen? I have had ideas so tentative and "whacky" I haven't dared to as much as mention them, yet by getting through the steps on pretexts I found myself at astonishing final goals I thought "no way!, in reality" at the start.

(R. Smith, 03Jan2024, 05Jan2024 (search e-dets), 05Jan2024 (cm, wb-pool), 06Jan2024 (eds, sum))