Field Testing for Emulsion Explosives

Common Problems with Emulsion Explosives

Emulsion Explosives are powerful, heavy explosives that are widely used across the mining and construction  blasting environments today. These products are easily pumpable and water resistant, however they can cause large problems with the actual blasting and the environmental affects of blasting. An emulsion is a mixture of oil and water, an explosive emulsion has ammonium nitrate dissolved into the water bubbles that are surrounded by oil. The major problems that occur with emulsions in the field is crystallization of the ammonium nitrate.

When the ammonium nitrate crystallizes, the emulsion will have an improper detonation and minimum rock fragmentation will occur. Additionally, ground vibration and air overpressure can increase by five times that of a normal blast. Finally,¬†crystallized emulsion will produce large amount of nitrous oxides and carbon monoxides which are hazardous to the employees and the public. A simple way to test for this can be found in our authors’ (Anthony Konya and Dr. Calvin J. Konya) most recent article in Rock Products: Field Testing of Emulsion Explosives