A new product with certain applications in the mining, quarrying and construction industries has been launched on the South African market. The manufacturers claim that it can crack even the largest rocks overnight, with no flying debris and no danger to the surrounding environment.
Named Crackem, it is produced by Samchem – the largest supplier of drilling fluid chemicals to the mining industry in Africa, and the continent’s biggest stockists of locally made and imported drilling polymers. Samchem is part of the Imdex Limited group of companies – a listed Australian drilling products and services company.
Crackem is a non-explosive, expansive and silent cracking agent that uses a powder composition for stone breaking, granite and marble quarrying, concrete cutting and demolition purposes.
Samchem claims that the product is safe, environmentally friendly and a viable alternative to explosives and other traditional methods of quarrying and demolition. It is especially useful under conditions that require tight controls, and where blasting-related vibrations are not allowed.
Crackem is mixed with clean water and poured into pre-drilled holes in rock or concrete. It then swells and exerts a significant expansive force on the hole-wall, fracturing the material and splitting the rock. This demolition has an advantage over conventional explosives because there is no noise, no toxic gases, no flying rocks, no explosions and no vibration.
Samchem marketing manager Belindé Mans says the nature of the cracking process enables the user to undertake work in tightly confined conditions, as long as it is possible to drill a hole in the area.
Depending on the nature of the material to be broken, time to completion of the cracking process does vary, with concrete cracking in as little as eight hours, and some igneous rocks, taking as long as 30 hours. Under normal circumstances these delays can be factored into the ongoing operation, as normal work can be conducted at a distance of less than a metre.