The power of water in the form of torrential rain can bring mammoth-sized boulders down onto state highways. The power of water can also be used to help get rid of them.
Sometimes, boulders that come down hillsides are too big to lift, even with an excavator. Maintenance crews then have to break apart large boulders using jackhammers, which leads to traffic delays. Explosives could be used, but they pose additional risks.
Enter the Boulder Buster™ - a portable rock-smashing tool that’s slightly bigger than a shoe box and uses pressurized water to break up or ‘blast’ large boulders.
But the ‘blast’ is not what you might think. Forget about Hollywood explosions. There are no giant booms, fireballs or flying debris. That’s the benefit.
Instead, the process produces a muffled ‘poof’ that might not even startle a dog, let alone the people who live nearby. The non-detonating rock-breaking tool – which uses just a bit of gunpowder and water pressure - breaks a rock open like an egg. A heavy plastic cover limits flying debris.
This tool can be safely used near pipes. It also is safe to use near structures and much safer overall when compared to something like dynamite.
|Much safer compared to dynamite, the Boulder Buster™ breaks|
up boulders with a muffled ‘poof.’
After the rock-busting session was complete, the remnants of the boulders were used as fill for another project.
So, how does it work?
First, we drill a hole about 75 percent through the boulder. Then, we pour the “secret ingredient” – water – into the hole.
|Pouring water into the breech body|
Next, we place the “breech body” inside the hole. It’s similar to a cast iron vase that has no bottom. A heavy plastic cover, similar to an industrial-sized door mat, then goes over the breech body, followed by a single shotgun shell-sized cartridge.
|A representative from Boulder Buster™ leading the training.|
|The boulder busting aftermath.|