Non-explosive demolition agents

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Non-explosive demolition agents are chemicals that are an alternative to explosives and gas pressure blasting products in demolition, mining, and quarrying.[1] To use non-explosive demolition agents in demolition or quarrying, holes are drilled in the base rock as they would be for use with conventional explosives. A slurry mixture of the non-explosive demolition agent and water is poured into the drill holes. Over the next few hours the slurry expands, cracking the rock in a pattern somewhat like the cracking that would occur from conventional explosives.

Non-explosive demolition agents offer many advantages including that they are silent and do not produce vibration the way a conventional explosive would. In some applications conventional explosives are more economical than non-explosive demolition agents. In many countries these are available without restriction, unlike explosives which are highly regulated.

The active ingredient is typically calcium oxide "burnt lime" typically mixed with a little Portland cement and plausibly modifiers.

These agents are much safer than explosives, but they have to be used as directed to avoid steam explosions during the first few hours after being placed.

Typical applications / parameters
Application Parameter Usage amount (kg/m3)
Aperture (mm) Pitch-row (cm) Array pitch (cm) Bore depth
Light Rock 30-45 30-50 30-50 H[clarification needed] 8-10
Medium-hard Rock 30-45 25-40 20-35 1.05H 10-15
Hard Granite 35-45 20-40 20-30 1.05H 18-20
Rock Cutting 30-40 20-35 50-80 H 5-15
Unreinforced Concrete and Boulder Stones 35-50 20-30 25-35 0.9H 8-15
Reinforced Concrete 30-45 15-25 15-25 H 15-25

Many patents describe non-explosive demolition agents containing CaO, SiO2 and/or cement.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ 2003 American Society of Civil Engineers, Controlled Concrete Demolition Using Expansive Cracking Agents (dead link 31 January 2022)
  2. ^ "Patents: Non-explosive Demolition Agents". Archived from the original on 2003-07-26.