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Boulder Buster: Breaking Rocks Without Explosives

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Kilroy, Bill; Tour, Jim. 1998. Boulder Buster: Breaking Rocks Without Explosives. 9867 2840. Missoula, MT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Missoula Technology and Development Center.

Describes using the Boulder Buster rather than explosives to break rocks larger than 2 meters in diameter or rock walls in 2-meter lifts. The Boulder Buster uses a cartridge resembling a shotgun shell and a column of liquid to generate a high-pressure wave. The wave fractures the surrounding structure. The Boulder Buster does not produce flyrock, so operators can be 25 meters away when they pull a lanyard to fire the device. Because the Boulder Buster is not an explosive device, operators do not require explosives certification. No special transportation or storage regulations apply. The Boulder Buster is a commercial product made in South Africa. During Forest Service field tests, the Boulder Buster was used to break a large rock that had fallen alongside a roadway, break rocks to lower spillways on two dams, and break a rock beneath a bridge where explosives could not have been used without damaging the bridge.

Keywords: demolition, explosive hazard, safety

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Updated: 04/14/2014
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