Nonex rock breaking cartridges are the better way to break rock and concrete with 100% controllable fly rock, low vibration and reduced dust and noise,  requiring only localized clearing of equipment and personnel.


How does it work?

The Nxco cartridge technology is based on a non-detonating chemical compound enclosed in a cartridge which reacts very quickly when ignited to produce high volumes of harmless gas that mainly consists of nitrogen, carbon dioxide and steam.

When the cartridge is sealed (by means of stemming) in a drill hole, the gas generated by the ignition of the propellant enters into the micro fractures created from the percussion drilling process and into natural fractures and planes of weakness on the rock to produce a shearing of the rock or concrete called splitting.


How do you use them?

Nxco cartridges are available in 13mm, 28mm, 34mm, 42mm and 60mm diameters. There are four variations available:

Standard - Electric

The procedure is as follows:

Drill a hole
Insert a cartridge
Stem the hole with stone screening/aggregate
Clear the local area
Connect up and fire

There are no expensive initiation systems or special tools required, just a fully charged shot-firer and a Nonex™ Blasters Certificate. It is fast, simple and most importantly, safe when handled correctly.



  • Oversize Boulders on building sites, roads and in gardens.
  • Mass Rock Removal for shopping centres, highways, and other civil projects.
  • Trenching and Pipelines.
  • Pipejacking and Tunneling.
  • Harbour deepening and underwater rock removal projects.
  • General Rock removal underground – sliping, tunnel widening, increasing the height of the hanging wall, lowering the footwall, pillaring and removal of cubbies.
  • Stopping and to a limited extent, development ends.
  • Any general rock and concrete removal where explosives are not permitted.



Environmental Constraints for Rock Breaking

The major environmental constraints which normally apply to rock breaking in environmentally sensitive areas are air blast over pressure, noise, ground vibration and fly rock/

It is critical to control these elements in environmentally sensitive areas to prevent or minimise possible damage to people and infrastructure.

Airblast Overpressure

Air blast overpressure (pressure above atmosphere) is caused by vibrations or compressional waves transmitted through air, produced by the rapid expansion of explosive gasses and the rapid movement of the rock, resulting in the sudden displacement of the air surrounding the blast.

Overpressure levels produced by Nxco cartridges are low when compared to conventional explosives and of a shorter duration and much less damaging frequency. This gives our cartridges a major advantage over explosives in environmentally sensitive areas.


Noise is the part of the air blast overpressure wave which falls within the audible frequency region of the human ear and is a nuisance factor, rather than a damaging influence. The high frequency portion of the air pressure portion is not audible but can cause structures such as windows in turn to respond and produce secondary noise such as rattles. A well-stemmed Nxco cartridge in granite will generally produce a noise level of 80 – 85dBL at 50m from the hole, well within the safe level of 128dB specified by the US Bureau of Mines. Noise levels can be tempered by the use of conveyor belting, other matting or ground cover to cover the holes being fired.


Ground Vibration

Ground vibrations from blasting can cause damage to buildings and infrastructure which are in the close vicinity of the blast. The degree of vibration induced damage caused by blasting is dependent on the magnitude, frequency and duration of the vibration.

Nxco cartridges have a vibration signature which is produced by the combination of high frequency vibration waves with low duration and low magnitude which enables them to be used in close proximity to vibration sensitive sites where conventional blasting is prohibited or impractical.

A Nxco cartridge’s specific vibration equation has been developed from monitored data collected from several rock breaking excavations in sensitive civil applications. This data has been collected by an independent group to reduce a practical graph which relates vibration levels (PPV) to charge weight and the distance from the shot at which the vibration is being measured. Ground vibration from our cartridges falls well within the maximum levels specified by the US Bureau of Mines.


Flyrock can be a very dangerous side effect of blasting. A Nxco cartridge produces optimal pressurisation of the cartridge within the hole for a given burden and type of rock. The velocity and distance travelled by the dislodged rock are limited when using our cartridges by the characteristics of the pressure pulse of Nxco cartridges.

Controlled gas released from Nxco cartridges at relatively low pressures results in a minimal quantity of low velocity fly rock which is generally contained within 20 – 50m of the rock breaking event.

Flyrock is 100% controllable by covering the rock with sand or rubber mats.