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MAXAM Foundation

MAXAM Foundation - Press room - Interviews - MAXAM Bachelor's & Master's Degrees prizes


Miriam Hernández
Project:
Effects of explosive charges on concrete structures and technology for damage analysis.
Andrea Martínez
Project:
Measuring fragmentation of blast debris using Split Online and Split Desktop digital systems in El Aljibe (Toledo) and Cobre las Cruces (Seville).

Miriam Hernández and Andrea Martínez have not only been the number one students on this year's courses (Bachelor's and Master's Degrees), but they have also been awarded the MAXAM prize in both categories. In this interview find out a little more about them, their projects and the start of their professional careers.

Tell us briefly what your project is about.
Miriam: Explosions in a terrorist attack on facilities such as airports, railway stations or bridges may cause the infrastructure to collapse. It is therefore important to know how this infrastructure will perform in different situations, in order to minimise the resulting damage, both in material and human terms.

A series of tests have been carried out with the Schmidt hammer to measure stress on the concrete, i.e. to determine the strength of the material to the impact of the hammer. Data was collected and processed with the Matlab programme and using statistical methods. This gave me a series of damage maps and results which I compared to other tests (topographical and displacement tests) to validate the methodology developed. This methodology could be used in future studies and to back up processes involving decisions on infrastructure safety and validation of simulations.

Andrea: The project involved analysing the effectiveness of digital image analysis systems to automatically measure fragmentation of blast debris. The results of the measurement in two mines with different conditions were analysed and compared to the results of a semi-automatic analysis, i.e. with manually amended results, and to the parameters of each blast using Split Online and Split Desktop software.

What made you choose this topic?

Miriam: I spent last year working in the explosives department at Higher School of Mining Engineering of the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid , thanks to a scholarship from the Ministry of Education. This was the most complex project, and also the one I was most involved in. I also find this topic particularly appealing, since one of the goals of their programme is to improve safety.
 
Andrea: I was particularly interested in the importance of this topic, since controlling rock fragmentation is a key aspect in the overall performance of a mine. It can affect from the price of the product, through to the cost of loading, transporting and processing. Moreover, environmental aspects come into play, since fragmentation affects the amount of material which is rejected for marketing and needs to be deposited in landfill sites. It must also be remembered that measuring fragmentation continuously, efficiently and without affecting normal mining operations is very complex and has been an on-going issue for some time.

Having completed the degree course, what have you learned most about the world of explosives?

Miriam: I have come to realise that explosives play a bigger role in our day-to-day lives than might first be expected, and that research, as in my case, can provide a solution to many everyday circumstances.

Andrea: In mining, blastings aregenerally the start of a long process which leads to a final product reaching our homes. Using explosives is beneficial both for society and for the environment, since it prevents negative socio-environmental impacts and also ensures energy savings by being more efficient than mechanical grinding. It is also a key factor in the overall economy of the process. 

What is your next step, now that you have finished your Degree course / Master's Degree?

Miriam: I spent last year working in the explosives department at Higher School of Mining Engineering of the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid , thanks to a scholarship from the Ministry of Education. This was the most complex project, and also the one I was most involved in. I also find this topic particularly appealing, since one of the goals of their programme is to improve safety.

Andrea: I am currently working for a mining engineering consultancy firm in Austria. I hope that in the near future I can continue to broaden my professional experience in Spain, and possibly combine my work with a Ph.D.

How would you like your career to develop?

Miriam: I would not rule anything out, since there are many areas I find appealing: nuclear power, explosives, renewable energy, etc. I would like a job which involves travelling and which I find challenging.

Andrea: Without a doubt, I would like to continue in the world of mining, since this is my passion. I am particularly interested in fields related to explosives, blast design and planning I would also love to contribute to the industry through research and development or optimisation Works.



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Last update 2019.10.10
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