Electropulse stimulation of rock: insights from grain-scale experimental studies and numerical models

S. D.C. Walsh, T. Czaszejko, D. Vogler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


Electropulse stimulation provides a means to fracture hard rocks into small fragments with the use of high-voltage electric pulses. As these techniques offer a frictionless method to break rock in tension, they have the potential to improve drilling, processing and excavation by reducing energy requirements and decreasing equipment wear. However, to date, descriptions of the processes involved in hard-rock electropulse stimulation remain largely empirical in nature - concentrating on the macroscopic effects of the electrical discharges, rather than their underlying causes. Results from a recent series of experimental studies and associated numerical models investigating the effects of electropulse stimulation on hard rock at the grain scale are outlined in this paper. The effects of the electric pulse treatments on the rock microstructure and the nature of the fragmented particles produced are also described. These results are compared with numerical simulations that track the path and effect of the voltage pulse on the rock mass. The implications of these results on the performance of electropulse methods are discussed for a range of operating conditions and rock-types.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationISRM International Symposium - EUROCK 2020
EditorsC.C. Li, H. Odegaard, A.H. Hoien, J. Macias
PublisherInternational Society for Rock Mechanics
ISBN (Electronic)9788282080729
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventEuropean Rock Mechanics Symposium 2020 - Trondheim, Virtual, Norway
Duration: 12 Oct 202014 Oct 2020
http://www.eurock2020.com (Website)


ConferenceEuropean Rock Mechanics Symposium 2020
Abbreviated titleEUROCK 2020
CityTrondheim, Virtual
Internet address


  • Drilling
  • Excavation
  • High-voltage stimulation
  • Multiphysics coupling
  • Numerical simulation

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