Martin Braithwaite is a visiting professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering, and an explosives expert with industrial experience. His research covers modelling and predicting how energetic materials behave, and he uses computer models to optimise mining operations. State-of-the-art thermodynamics and shock dynamics are used as the basis of his commercially available software that is used by a large number of the industries that exploit explosives.
Professor Braithwaite is also experienced in the safety aspects of these materials, performing safety reviews for explosive production plants and more recently acting as an expert witness in a South Australian court case following an explosives factory accident.
He’s advised on explosives manufacture and use for many companies including De Beers, Codeco, Rio Tinto and Orica.
One of his most recent projects was advising MTR, Hong Kong’s railway provider, on the transport of explosives during the construction of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong express rail link. This high-speed railway will link Guangzhou and Hong Kong through a tunnel 26km long.
Whilst Professor Braithwaite’s research is in the use of energetic materials, for this project he performed a safety study on how the explosives were going to be transported to the tunnel site. This detailed study looked at the risk to buildings, traffic and the public should the van carrying the explosives have an accident during the journey. Assessment of the population and traffic density, along with knowledge of how the material would behave in different types of accidents, were combined to provide comprehensive advice on how to react to any accident.
With such specialist consultancy, the building of the tunnel can go ahead in the sure knowledge that everything possible has been done to reduce any risks.
And Professor Braithwaite’s expertise isn’t confined to traditional explosives. He’s also done safety studies on other reactions that could potentially be volatile, such as chemical reactions in a pharmaceutical factory.
Throughout his consultancy career, Professor Braithwaite has offered services including hazard studies, accident investigations, explosive plant design, safety reviews and explosive behaviour modelling.
For more information on how Imperial’s explosives expertise can help you, please contact us.