chapter  16
Emerging Mechanical Excavation Technologies
Pages 15

The overall reviews of the rock fragmentation/excavation techniques available today show that the major methods are still drill and blast and mechanical excavation methods. The novel rock fragmentation/excavation techniques, such as thermal energy (laser, electric), ultrasound or microwave energy, chemical energy, and water-jet cutting, do not currently offer a profitable rock excavation method due to very high specific energy requirements. The novel methods might be utilized as an auxiliary method in combination with mechanical excavation and drill and blast, may be for kerf cutting or precision cutting, not for excavation of the whole face. Water-jet cutting is the most promising method among the novel methods when used in combination with mechanical cutting tools.