The influence of microwave irradiation on rocks for microwave-assisted underground excavation

Published on Feb 1, 2016in Journal of rock mechanics and geotechnical engineering2.829
· DOI :10.1016/J.JRMGE.2015.10.004
Ferri Hassani21
Estimated H-index: 21
(McGill University),
Pejman Nekoovaght5
Estimated H-index: 5
(McGill University),
Nima Gharib5
Estimated H-index: 5
(McGill University)
Sources
Abstract
Abstract Demand is growing for explosive-free rock breakage systems for civil and mining engineering, and space industry applications. This paper highlights the work being undertaken in the Geomechanics Laboratory of McGill University to make a real application of microwave-assisted mechanical rock breakage to full-face tunneling machines and drilling. Comprehensive laboratory tests investigated the effect of microwave radiation on temperature profiles and strength reduction in hard rocks (norite, granite, and basalt) for a range of exposure times and microwave power levels. The heating rate on the surface of the rock specimens linearly decreased with distance between the sample and the microwave antenna, regardless of microwave power level and exposure time. Tensile and uniaxial compressive strengths were reduced with increasing exposure time and power level. Scanning electron micrographs (SEMs) highlighted fracture development in treated basalt. It was concluded that the microwave power level has a strong positive influence on the amount of heat damage induced to the rock surface. Numerical simulations of electric field intensity and wave propagation conducted with COMSOL Multiphysics ® software generated temperature profiles that were in close agreement with experimental results.
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