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Laboratory for applied mechanical and electrical engineering sciences (SIAME)
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Supervising the PhD of Tony Imbert with the CIFRE (National research and technology association) Industrial partner: ITHPP

Project name: supervising the PhD of Tony Imbert with the CIFRE (National research and technology association)

Subject: contribution to the study of electrical discharges in fluids with a view to fracturing rocks

Start date: September 2, 2016

End date: September 2, 2019

Industrial partner: ITHPP

Scientific managers: Laurent PECASTAING, Antoine SILVESTRE de FERRON

Permanent member of the SIAME involved:  Thierry REESS

Type of contract: cooperation agreement

Partners: The LaTEP (Pierre CEZAC and Jean-Paul SERIN)


Project description

The company ITHPP located in Thégra, France and the SIAME laboratory are working in partnership on studies centered on Plasma Blasting Technology (PBT). This method consists in creating a shock wave by electrical breakdown. The shock wave is used to pulverize solid materials, either to separate the various components, or more simply to fracture them. Two principles can be applied:

  • Delocalized, or indirect, in which the shock wave is transmitted to the material through a liquid medium.
  • Localized, or direct, in which the discharge takes place directly within the material.

Principle of the localized and delocalized methods

This method has many applications (separation and crushing of waste, powdering of products, skinning of concrete, ceramic sintering, rock fracturing, electromagnetic shaping, etc.) but individual processes first need to be optimized.

This scientific project ensures continuity with previous work on electric fracturing. The aim is to draw up an experimental database to understand, plan and optimize rock fracturing using electric arcs in a fluid. More specifically, the objective will be to study the influence of all the parameters related to both the thermodynamic properties of the fluid and to the discharge circuit in order to master the discharge sequence, and consequently the pressure wave generated.

Of course, the project inevitably involves a phase to significantly improve the process, the aim being to achieve a maximum degree of fracturing with the smallest possible amount of electrical energy.