Experimental Investigation of Blast-Induced Fractures in Rock Cylinders

  • Li Yuan ChiEmail author
  • Zong-Xian Zhang
  • Arne Aalberg
  • Charlie C. Li
Original Paper


Fractures in rock cylinders with a central blasthole have been investigated, focusing on the borehole expansion, the crushed zone around the borehole, and the effects of the boundary conditions. Nine small-scale blasting tests were carried out on granite cylinders with diameters of either 228 or 240 mm and lengths of 300 mm, with fully coupled or decoupled explosive charges. The granite cylinders were confined by steel tubes with an inside diameter of 268 mm, where the gap (20 or 14 mm) between was left either empty, filled with gravel or filled with cement grout to simulate various lateral boundary conditions. The fractures around the blasthole were examined on cross-sections of the cylinders. The extent of the crushed zone and the expansion of the borehole were found to depend largely on the decoupling ratio of the charge, both decreasing with an increasing ratio. For small charges, the cylinders confined by gravel fill developed more and longer radial cracks than cylinders confined by the more rigid cement fill. For large charges, a cylinder with an empty gap fragmented into very small pieces, while a cylinder with cement fill broke into large fragments. Hoop strains measured on the steel tubes were smaller for a specimen with gravel fill than for similar specimens with cement fill. For the cylinder with an empty gap, fragment collisions with the steel tube caused significant hoop strains in the confining steel tube. The experimental findings of this investigation may contribute to a better understanding of rock blast fracturing, particularly in the region near the blasthole.


Rock fracture Confined blasting Borehole expansion Crushed zone Surface movement 

List of Symbols

Dborehole, Dexp, Dsh

Diameters for the original borehole, the expanded borehole and the outer boundary of crushed zone


Material mass passing mesh size x (%)


Ratio of burden to borehole radius


Burden velocity


Undulation parameter

mexp, msh

Expansion ratio, ratio of crushed zone

x, xmax, x50

Fragment size, maximum size, median size



This work was financially supported by the University Centre in Svalbard. The authors wish to thank Professor J. Yang, Mr. Z.Y. Cheng, Mr. Z.S. Zhou, and Mr. Feng at the Beijing Institute of Technology for the support in performing the experiments at the State Key Laboratory of Explosion Science and Technology. The authors also thank the reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Austria, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Arctic Technologythe University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS)LongyearbyenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Geoscience and PetroleumNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway
  3. 3.Oulu Mining SchoolUniversity of OuluOuloFinland

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