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MAXAM Foundation - MAXAM Chair - Blasting solutions - Underwater works

Although records dating back over 2000 years show that the Phoenicians and ancient Greeks worked underwater to excavate rocky materials submerged in natural ports in the north and east of the Mediterranean, it was not until the second half of last century that the basic technologies required for underwater drilling and blasting work were consolidated.

There is now a global trend to make docks, navigation channels and locks deeper. The in-creased size of boats and ships, along with a significant increase in global demand for ship-ping, has made this type of work necessary.

Blasting in underwater excavation work

Underwater blasting is a fundamental stage in many construction works and/or deepening of ports, navigation canals, riverbeds, excavations for pipelines, communication cables, dem-olition of sunken structures, among many others.
It is a special excavating technique in which the energy generated by detonating explosive in a sequence of loads is used to fragment the rock mass into particles of a specific size, in order to optimize the dredging of the blasted material.

br /> In general, underwater blasting can be performed with and without drilling, depending on the explosive application methodology (shaped or confined charges in blastholes). Excava-tion work can be carried out using a number of different methods, from specialist divers to apply the explosive loads, through to the use of drilling platforms.


 Yuan Dong 007 drilling platform with 10 drilling rigs used in the Panama Canal upgrade work.

MAXAM and underwater blasting

One of MAXAM's most outstanding features is its technological developments for this type of work, such as its RIOFLEX high-energy bulk explosive, as well as the charging system used. Work carried out in situ with sensitized explosives, such as in this case, mean an oxidiz-ing matrix can be transported, stored and handled during all phases of the operation, thus improving safety and efficiency. The product will only become explosive at the end of its sensitization process, once it is in the blasthole in the final phase of the charge.
Moreover, the vast majority of projects that require underwater blasting are very close to sensitive structures such as ships, port facilities or built-up areas. This means safety and environmental aspects are critical factors in the operation.
MAXAM designs and carries out a tests program in this type of project, in order to deter-mine safe operation levels based on exhaustive analysis of vibrations and other possible effects.

Such technical and technological developments have allowed MAXAM to achieve outstand-ing results, never previously seen in large-scale works, such as underwater blasts carried out in 2005 to supply the Toshka Canal (Egypt) and convert 500,000 hectares into fertile land, or the recent upgrade of the Panama Canal, among others.
Given these challenges, the value propositions developed by MAXAM include:

• Operational safety (manufacture, transport, storage and handling of oxidizing ma-trix, 5.1).
• Control of environmental effects.
• Control of vibrations and hydrodynamic waves.
• Rock fragmentation, compatible with the dredging equipment.
• Techniques and technology to achieve high levels of production.
•Reduced Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

The combination of all these factors is key to the success of underwater blast operations.

Be sure to contact MAXAM for further information on value proposals and blasting solu-tions for underwater excavation Works.

Drilling underwater boreholes in construction work on the new locks for access to the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean (2009).

Underwater blasting in works of Itaguai's southeast port, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Blasting solutions.December 2017

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Last update 2019.10.22
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