Less Bang for the Buck

by Paul Tarricone, Asst. Editor; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 3, Pg. 64-66

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Blasting rock is practical on job sites with ample space, but on construction sites in urbans or developed settings, contractors are shying away from blasting for several reasons. Noise and air pollution regulations have made it less attractive. The vibration is unpopular with nearby residents. Nearby buildings can also be damaged and ground water problems could arise from blasting. The liability insurance and possibility of lawsuits is troublesome, considering the lack of certainty with any blasting operationg. Thus contractors are forced to find a more delicate touch for removing rock and concrete. One cutting edge technology is soundless chemical demolition agents (SCDAs), which are injected into rock and subsequently fracture it. This is one of the least tested, but most tested methods. Other more conventional/high productivity methods include boom-mounted hydraulic hammers, impact rippers, concrete crushers, rotary head cutter and mechanical presplitter. Most importantly, where blasting is not feasible, many of these techniques, whether they're established or new, work in tandem to break rock.

Subject Headings: Blasting | Construction methods | Rocks | Demolition | Chemicals |

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