Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Braden T. Lusk


Blasting is a critical part of most mining operations. The primary function of blasting is to fragment and move rock. For decades, attempts have been made at increasing the efficiency of blasting to reduce costs and increase production. Most of these attempts involve trial and error techniques that focus on changing a single output. These techniques are costly and time consuming and it has been shown that as one output is optimized other outputs move away from their optimum level. To truly optimize a blasting program, the transfer of explosive energy into individual components must be quantified. Explosive energy is broken down into five primary components: rock fragmentation, heave, ground vibration, air blast, and heat. Fragmentation and heave are considered beneficial components while the remaining are considered waste. Past energy partitioning research has been able to account for less than 30% of a blast’s total explosive energy.

The purpose of this dissertation was to account for a greater percentage of the explosive energy available during a blast. These values were determined using measurement techniques not previously applied to energy partitioning research. Four small-scale test series were completed, each designed to isolate individual energy components. Specific energy components measured include borehole chambering, elastic deformation (ground vibration), translational and rotational kinetic energy (heave), and air overpressure (air blast).

This research was able to account for 73% of the total explosive energy. Borehole chambering (13%), rotational kinetic energy (25%), translational kinetic energy (5%), and air overpressure (28%) were determined to be the largest components. Prior research efforts have largely ignored rotational kinetic energy and have only been able to offer predictions for the values of borehole chambering and air overpressure energies.

This dissertation accounted for a significantly higher percentage of total available explosive energy than previous research efforts using novel measurement techniques. It was shown that borehole chambering, heave, and air blast are the largest energy components in a blast. In addition to quantifying specific energy partitions, a basic goal programming objective function was proposed, incorporating explosive energy partitioning and blasting parameters into a framework that can be used for future energy optimization.