Emulsion Explosives Technology
Zukovich, Morhard & Wade, LLC (ZMW) is a design engineering firm that specializes in projects involving explosive, propellants and pyrotechnics with extensive experiences in explosive and detonator manufacturing in the US and in more than 70 countries world-wide. ZMW provides technical services for most of the world's multinational industrial explosives manufacturers. Throughout our individual careers, ZMW partners each have 30 + years formulating, manufacturing, handling and blasting with packaged detonator sensitive and booster sensitive as well as bulk emulsion explosives. Our emulsion explosive technology spans many individualized formulations and can be especially adapted to local blasting requirements and raw materials availability.
World Class Qualifications
Design, permitting, regulatory compliance, public affairs, fabrication, commissioning, maintenance and technical support for forty-one (41) new or upgraded emulsion explosives manufacturing facilities over the careers of the ZMW Principal Partners.
Our partners US Patents form the basis for almost a third of the world’s nine million tons consumed each year.
Chosen by the US Government’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency and Alliant TechSystems, Inc. to solve technical problem of recycling former Soviet Union SS-24 and SS-19 ICBM propellant into emulsion explosives in Ukraine.
Provides technical services for manufacturing and safety for eight of the top ten multinational explosives producers and the top three largest multinational mining companies.
Packaged Emulsion Explosives
• Velocity of Detonation 13,000 ft/s (4,000 m/s) to over 17,700 ft/s (5,400 m/s)
• Bulk Density 1.15 to 1.25 g/cc
• Relative Bulk Strength 120 – 180 (ANFO = 100)
• Water Resistance Excellent
• Shelf Life 1 Year No significant crystallizing or segregation
• Temperature Ranges -20°C to over +50°C
• Explosion Temperature 2,200 to 3,700°C
• Critical Diameter 0.5 inch (12.7mm)
• Detonation Pressure 100 Kbar
• Absolute Weight Strength 674 – 928 cal/gram
• Absolute Bulk Strength 775 – 1095 cal/cc
• Impact and Friction No action in UN Standard Tests
• Sensitivity No 8 strength detonator
• UN Hazards Class Explosive, Blasting Type E, UN 0241 PG11 UN 1.1 D
Bulk Emulsion Explosives
• Velocity of Detonation 13,000 ft/s (4000 m/s) to over 19,000 ft/s (5800 m/s)
• Bulk Density 1.07 to 1.31 g/cc
• Relative Bulk Strength 126 – 187 (ANFO = 100)
• Water Resistance:
Excellent (Emulsion/ANFO 100/0, 70/30. 60/40)
Good (Emulsion/ANFO 40/60, 35/65)
Poor (Emulsion/ANFO 25/75, 20/80, 10/90)
• Shelf Life 1 Year No Crystallizing or segregation
• Temperature Ranges -20°C to over +50°C
• Explosion Temperature 2,200 to 3,700°C
• Heat at Constant Volume 3 to 5 MJ/kg
• Specific Energy 800 to 1,200 kJ/kg
• Specific Pressure 8,500 to over 11,000 atm/kg.
• UN Hazards Class options
Ammonium Nitrate Emulsion UN 3375
Hazard Class 5.1 Oxidizing Substance
Explosive, Blasting Type E, UN 0332
Hazard Class1.5D Blasting Agent
* Dependent upon the ratio of Emulsion or ANFO in the blend or pumped as bulk
➢ Produce various emulsion formulations for customized performance
➢ Full borehole coupling optimizes transfer of energy from the explosive into the rock
➢ High energy formulation for consistent performance in both wet and dry conditions
➢ Excellent sensitivity and pre-compression resistance
➢ Increased productivity through enhanced performance
➢ Optimized blasting performance and reduced secondary blasting to reduce costs
Emulsion Explosives Technical Overview
An emulsion is made up of a mixture of two liquids that do not normally mix with one another, as one liquid is oil-based, and the other liquid is water-based. When the appropriate emulsifier is present and enough mechanical energy is exerted, the two phases can be forced to blend together. Emulsion explosives are, therefore, prepared in the form of water-in-oil emulsions. The internal phase is composed of a solution of oxidizer salt suspended as microscopically fine droplets, which are surrounded by a continuous fuel phase. An emulsifying agent stabilizes the emulsion thus formed against liquid separation. Since each microcell of the oxidizer is coated with an oily exterior, the emulsion has excellent water resistance and does not rely on a pack-age for their ability to function efficiently in water. A bulking agent such as ultra fine air bubbles or glass microspheres may be then dispersed throughout the basic emulsion matrix, which provides for density control and sensitivity. What makes a water-in-oil emulsion particularly effi-cient is that the major component by weight is mixed into the minor component. This not only results in a finely dispersed, homogenous mixture, but one in which the oil phases constitutes the outside or continuous phase. It is this feature that imparts excellent water resistance to emulsion type explosives.
The process begins with ingredient handling that involves receiving the raw materials and conducting acceptance procedures to check for proper quality and performance, unloading or handling the ingredient to place in proper storage and preparing the raw materials for use in the process. Two ingredient streams are prepared for feeding to the production module. These are ammonium nitrate solution, and an oil phase mixture.
Ammonium nitrate solution will be made on site form chemically pure AN and water, and maybe acetic acid and thiocyanate depending upon the type of emulsion produced, to the appropriate quality control specifications.. The ammonium nitrate solution will be pumped from a stainless steel the make-up tank to a stainless steel Ammonium Nitrate Storage Tank. When required, the ammonium nitrate solution will be pumped to the manufacturing module for emulsion pro-duction.
The oil phase mixture is a blend of mineral oil and liquid emulsifier. The mineral oil is blended with the appropriate emulsifier, verified by analysis and subsequently transferred to the appro-priate fuel blend storage tank and maintained at ambient temperature until required for production. When required, the fuel blend is heated to approximately 50ºC before use in the manufac-turing process.
EMULSION FORMATION PROCESS
The second process step is the formation of base emulsion. The base emulsion contains all of the ingredients for the explosive but still requires a bulking agent to lower density and increase sensitivity in order to form explosive characteristics. The semi-automated continuous plant is capable of producing Ammonium Nitrate Emulsions (ANE) Class 5.1 Oxidizer Substances, n.o.s. or Explosive, Blasting, Type E Class 1.5D Blasting Agent (or booster sensitive) and Class 1.1D (detonator sensitive) emulsions. The liquids from the two ingredient streams (ammonium nitrate solution and oil/emulsifier blend) are controlled by the System Operator. The emulsion transfer pumps are fitted with a high pressure shutdown, high temperature shutdown, low flow shutdown and a rupture disk. The shutdown switches are wired through a PLC in the control panel. The System Operator maintains the appropriate ratio of ammonium nitrate solution, and oil/emulsifier blend, and monitors all operating and safety parameters on the control panel.
When producing Ammonium Nitrate Emulsions (ANE) Class 5.1 Oxidizer Substances, n.o.s., the unsensitised bulk matrix emulsion the liquid ammonium nitrate solutions and fuel blends are metered into a proprietary high-shear mixing system to control viscosity and emulsion cell size, and ultimately to form the water-in-oil emulsions. The insensitive (or non-detonable) bulk emulsion matrix is pumped to the Matrix Storage Tank pending loading via gravity to bulk delivery tanker trucks. Further sensitizing and blending of the emulsion takes place in an additive mod-ule (for glass microspheres) or at the packaging machine (for chemical gassing) prior to loading into the emulsion package.
When producing Explosive, Blasting, Type E Class 1.5D Blasting Agent or 1.1D emulsion, the next step is the additive addition onto the base emulsion for sensitizing. The matrix is pumped to a paddle blender for mixing with a metered amount of a non-explosive dry ingredient sensitizing agents in order to modify or enhance the product’s characteristics or performance. Glass microspheres are added as a physical sensitizer to lower product density and increase the ex-plosives sensitivity and performance. As an option, another additive that may also be added may be aluminum or even a demilitarized propellant for increasing the total energy of the formula and to produce a high performance, detonator sensitive product.
The matrix is pumped directly to the discharge system in a bulk application or packaging machine in a fixed plant. Just prior to the emulsion entering the package it is pumped through a mixing chamber. The chemical gassing agent is metered into the mixing chamber and the mixture is pumped into the blasting bore hole or the dimensional package.
Tread Corporation, Roanoke, VA, http://www.treadcorp.com/emulsionplant.html the world’s leading supplier of bulk explosives handling equipment, has built many emulsion plants since manufacturing their first plant in 1983. These units have been of varied capacities and have had a multitude of product manufacturing capabilities. This experience has allowed Tread Corp. to create a modular emulsion-manufacturing unit.
The two basic modules have separate and stand–alone capabilities. The Emulsion matrix is manufactured in the first module. The second module is added if there is a need for the addition of glass microspheres to sensitize the product. Other solid additives can be added at this point also. Both modules come pre-wired, plumbed and with all product piping in place. Other optional features (such as a Continuous Recycle Mixer, or CR Mixer) can be added to either module for additional production capability. These modules are pre-run at Tread Corp’s facility in your presence for approval prior to shipping.
Emulsions are normally packaged with a form-fill-seal machine. The most common machine in use worldwide is the K-P Machine from Packaging Technologies, Inc. There are others available such as the Filipac Machine from Brazil. Both are excellent machines. The Filipac is the less expensive of the two and has a gassing agent add-on option that will meter the gassing chemicals and mix them with the emulsion just prior to entering the package.