Effects of ground vibrations on nearby structures and people resulting from blasting operations have become a major environmental problem and concern to engineers and contractors as well as to the general public. Understanding of propagation characteristics of stress waves produced by blasting and structural response to ground vibration are essential in planning and design of safe blasting operations. Empirical approaches rather than theoretical have been used to relate the intensity of ground vibration to the degree of structural damage, and to relate the weight of explosives to the intensity of ground vibration at a given distance. Although dynamic analysis, such as response spectra, may provide the most rational approach, the peak particle velocity appears to be the best and most practical criterion for use in design of safe blasting operations. However, the currently recommended design criterion of 2 inches per second peak particle velocity for all types of structures is found to be inadequate. Revised design criteria based on the type, age and stress history of the structure are proposed. Human response to vibration is found to be a very critical and sometimes a controlling factor in the design of blasting operations.
Since blasting has been utilized for mining and construction, there has been concern about the effects on man and structures brought about by air and ground vibrations resulting from such blasting. With the expansion of mining and construction activities and a growing public awareness and demand for improved environmental quality in recent years, this problem has become increasingly important to engineers and contractors. Blasting associated with deep underground mining and excavation work are relatively of minor concern. However, if nuclear explosions are ever to be used for mining and construction purposes, such blasting operations will surely become a problem of major concern.