Large buildings, tall
chimneys, smokestacks, and increasingly some smaller
structures may be destroyed by building implosion
explosives. Imploding a building is very fast
— the collapse itself only takes seconds — and an
expert can ensure that the building falls into its
own footprint, so as not to damage neighboring
structures. This is essential for tall structures in
dense urban areas.
Any error can be
disastrous, however, and some demolitions have
failed, severely damaging neighboring structures.
The greatest danger is from flying debris which,
when improperly prepared for, can kill onlookers.
Even more dangerous is
the partial failure of an attempted implosion. When
a building fails to collapse completely the
structure may be unstable, tilting at a dangerous
angle, and filled with un-detonated but still primed
explosives, making it difficult for workers to
A third danger comes
blasting shockwave that occurs during the
implosion. If the sky is clear, the blasting
shockwave, a wave of energy and sound, travels
upwards and disperses, but if cloud coverage is low,
the shockwave can travel outwards, breaking windows
or causing other damage to surrounding buildings.
implosion is the method that the general public
often thinks of when discussing demolition, it can
be dangerous and is only used as a last resort when
other methods are impractical or too costly. It
takes several weeks or months to prepare a building
for implosion. All items of value, such as copper
wiring, are stripped from a building. Some materials
must be removed, such as glass that can form deadly
projectiles, and insulation that can scatter over a
wide area. Non-load bearing partitions and drywall
are removed. Selected columns on floors where
explosives will be set are drilled and nitroglycerin
and TNT are placed in the holes. Smaller columns and
walls are wrapped in detonating cord. The goal is to
use as little explosive as possible; only a few
floors are rigged with explosives, so that it is
safer (less explosives) and less costly. The areas
with explosives are covered in thick
fabric and fencing to absorb flying debris. Far more
time-consuming than the demolition itself is the
clean-up of the site, as the debris is loaded into
trucks and hauled away.
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