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Peter Duniam

Peter Duniam

#12 strength

#12 strength and #8 strength refers to the base charge of a detonator.

Historically detonators were made in a range of strengths, #6 for underground coal (Carrick Detonators) and #8 for initiating gelatin dynamite. With the change to less sensitive explosives a stronger detonator was required so ICI / Orica made a  #8* which is equivalent to a #12 strength DYNO detonator.

There were also #2, #3, #4 detonators but these were for testing the sensitivity of explosives and were not used for blasting.

The modern surface delays with low energy base charges probably relate to a #1 strength detonator.



1.1A is a hazard division for primary explosives.

1.1 Explosive with a mass explosion hazard.

A Primary Explosive

This applies to explosives like Lead Azide and Lead Styphnate

Explosives Class 1.1A often require special permission to ship and must be shipped wet.


The Australian Explosives Industry Safety Group (AEISG) publishes a number of Codes of Practice for the explosives industry including a code for Mobile Processing Units (MPU's).

Other codes are found at

Air Blast

Vibration of the atmosphere due to the release of explosives energy.

The three main sources of airblast are rock release pulse, stemming release pulse and rock piston effect.

  1. Rock release is where the face bursts due to inadequate burden.
  2. Stemming release is due to rifling or cratering of the blast hole collar.
  3. Rock piston is the large, low frequency, movement of air driven by the movement and swelling of the blasted rock mass.


ALANFO A mixture of ANFO and aluminium powder. Adding aluminium increases the strength. As aluminium is a fuel a reduced quantity of diesel is required.

Ammonium Nitrate

Ammonium Nitrate (AN), meeting the requirements of UN1942.

The chemical compound ammonium nitrate, the nitrate of ammonia with the chemical formula NH4NO3, is a white crystalline solid at room temperature and standard pressure. It is commonly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer, and it has also been used as an oxidizing agent in explosives, including improvised explosive devices. It is the main component of ANFO and emulsion explosives which account for over 80% explosives used in Australia.

AN used for ANFO manufacture is referred to as PPAN meaning Porous Prilled Ammonium Nitrate.

Prilled is the term for a small aggregate of a material, most often a dry sphere, formed from a melted liquid

Porous because the prills contain voids to soak up the diesel fuel.

AN Pic


Amperage or Amps provided by an electrical service is the flow rate of "electrical current" that is available. 

Basic Formulas Relate Voltage, Current (Amps), & Resistance (Ohms or Ω ), Watts

Voltage = Current x Resistance

Current = Voltage / Resistance

Resistance = Voltage / Current

Watts = Volts x Amp


A mixture of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil with or without a dye colouring agent.

The standard mix is 5.8% Fuel Oil by weight.

As diesel has a density of 0.8 this relates to a mix of 7.5 litres of diesel to 100kg of AN.

(Definition from AS2187.0)

anfo in hand

anfo wp

ANFO Pressure Kettle

A pressure kettle is a device for blow loading ANFO and consists of a pressurised hopper with a valve and venturi on the bottom.

The effective use of a pressure kettle requires the pressure in the hopper and the by-pass pressure to be correctly set.

Typical settings are: By-Pass Pressure 600 KPa, Kettle Pressure 500 KPa

pressure kettlepressure kettle 1


Approval by the regulatory authority having jurisdiction.

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Skip Manage Drill and Blast Operations 5 DAY MASTERCLASS