Water Jets: Concrete Yes, Tunneling Maybe

by Kneeland A. Godfrey, Jr., Sr. Ed.; Civil Engineering Magazine, ASCE World Headquarters, 345 East 47th Street, New York City, NY.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1987, Vol. 57, Issue 5, Pg. 78-81

Document Type: Feature article


High pressure water jets are demolishing concrete from bridge and parking decks, faster and at lower cost than by traditional means. The technique is fast becoming an acceptable option. Advantages and limitations of water jets in the bridge and parking deck application are described. Water jets are used to cut concrete, operating much like concrete saws, but more cutting power is needed. Toward this end, two alternatives are used: abrasive particles are added to the jet, or a cavitating water jet is used. Firms pioneering development of these tools are mentioned. Finally, use of water jets to aid mechanical tunneling and mining machines is described. There is agreement that the water reduces dust in the tunnel or mine, which is highly valuable because last year $1 billion in benefits was paid to sufferers of black lung disease. But whether or not the water jet assist can dramatically improve tunneling or mining rates or energy efficiency is being debated. Leading participants in the debate are quoted.

Subject Headings: Bridge decks | Water pressure | Concrete bridges | Hydro power | Mines and mining | Water management | Jets (fluid) | Concrete

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