High volume, low pressure water jets have been employed for erosion of loosely consolidated rocks for centuries and this excavation method finds application in specialized circumstances even today. The use of high pressure, low volume water jets for rock cutting is more recent and was made possible by the development of high pressure water pumps. This approach to rock breakage has been touted by an enthusiastic group of research workers, and we count ourselves among these workers, for at least the past two decades. Despite the benefits often claimed for these systems, high pressure water jets still have not found widespread application. In this paper we review the various methods that have been employed using waterjets to break rock and we focus on one method, termed jet assisted cutting, which, in our view is the closest to commercial development. We review the current state of knowledge based on laboratory and field experiences using this cutting method and we assess possible future developments for this approach to excavation.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.