Simulating electropulse fracture of granitic rock

Stuart D.C. Walsh, Daniel Vogler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Electropulse treatments employ a series of high-voltage discharges to break rock into small fragments. As these methods are particularly suited to fracturing hard brittle rocks, electropulse treatments can serve to enhance or substitute for more traditional mechanical approaches to drilling and processing of these materials. Nevertheless, while these treatments have the potential to improve hard-rock operations, the coupled electro-mechanical processes responsible for damaging the rock are poorly described. The lack of accurate models for these processes increases the difficulty of designing, controlling and optimizing tools that employ electropulse treatments and limits their range of application. This paper describes a new modeling method for studying electropulse treatments in geotechnical operations. The multiphysics model simulates the passage of the pulse, electrical breakdown in the rock, and the mechanical response at the grain-scale. It also accounts for the contributions from different minerals and porosities, allowing the effect of material composition to be considered. In so doing, it provides a means to investigate the different physical and operational factors influencing electropulse treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104238
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences
Volume128
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020

Keywords

  • Fracture
  • Hard-rock
  • Numerical modelling
  • Plasma drilling
  • Thermo-electro-mechanics

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