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Razed to the ground: Lesser known methods of demolition

Alice-India Garwood
by Alice-India Garwood on October 2, 2018

Demolition is the planned destruction of a man-made structure. There are so many different kinds of methods and machinery and even chemicals within demolition, we could write a blog on each and every one. And between you and us, we fully intend to. But, for now? This is a look at some of the lesser known methods of demolition.

We’re all fully up to speed on the ins and outs of manual building demolition, wrecking balls and perhaps one of the cooler methods, implosion.

What could be cooler than an implosion on a crisp summer’s morning? Well, how about diamond wire cutting?

"What could be cooler than a wrecking ball? Diamond wire!"

Demolition Bobtrade Efficiency Construction Technology[Photo Credit: Aggregate Technologies]

The first demolition company to use diamond wire saws for controlled demolition. This is a method that is on the whole used for metal and concrete.

It works a little like a giant, super strength cheese wire. The wire itself is made of a tension spring with diamond beads. This wire is then fed through a drive wheel which is powered by a hydraulic motor and then fed through guide wheels. The motion then acts like a saw, cutting through the concrete or metal pieces.

The benefit of this method is the reduction in vibration and mess. There is some reduction in noise, but of course, cutting through any dense material like concrete is going to have some noise.

"It works a little like a giant, super strength cheese wire."

Think it can’t get cooler than diamond wire? Think again, and say hello, to non-explosive chemical demolition!

Demolition Bobtrade Efficiency Construction Technology[Photo Credit: Gorilla Hammers]

For a massive reduction in noise, dust and vibrations, expansive grout is such a cool way of demolishing buildings.

It’s a slurry mixture, that when mixed with water, expands, cracking apart the rock, concrete or stone. Interestingly, it cracks in a pattern similar to explosives.

Expansive grout is made by mixing water with bentonite - a form of elastic clay used to prevent collapse in excavation - sodium silicate, sodium carbonate and triethanolamine.

"Chemical demolition cracks the concrete in a similar pattern to explosives."

This is a method typically associated with the demolition of motorway bridges. Motorway bridge demolition can be done with hydraulics, small implosions or with the chemical cracking outlined above.

This type of demolition has to be done quickly and efficiently for the smallest levels of disruption possible to users of the public roads affected.

There are some dangers however.

It is a delicate chemical process.

If the mixture reacts too quickly the temperature can reach the water's boiling point before the water has been properly absorbed in to the mixture. This has the potential to cause the grout mixture to be blown up and out of the holes in a steam explosion which could be incredibly dangerous!

"Without proper mixing there is the potential for a steam explosion, which could be incredibly dangerous."

Demolition 2 (1)[Photo Credit: Wikipedia]

It’s fascinating stuff. As much as we love the big cinematic implosions or the good old fashioned wrecking ball, there’s something magic about the use of diamond wire cutters and expansive grout.

Tags: Technology

Alice-India Garwood

Alice-India Garwood

Content Marketing Executive at Bobtrade. Interested in design, sustainability and the history of construction. I love all things indie and theatrical.