Question regarding silent demolitions.

I have heard of silent demolitions of buildings and infrastructure that do not use explosives. Does that go for roads too? How are these demolitions achieved and how silent are they? What are the decibel levels?

Silent demolition of roads is normally done by “Winter”. What did you have in mind?

“Silent demolition” is done by cracking the concrete, using an expanding substance like ice, which was a traditional method, but which required you to wait for winter. They don’t use ice anymore.

“Silent demolition” of buildings is as noisy as a concrete drill. The noise db a concrete drill makes depends on how close to it you are to it. I certainly wouldn’t call it silent.

One method of lower-noise controlled demolition involves the use of machines like this one - they deconstruct the building by crushing and pulling away parts of it - so there is no percussive drill noise.

Some similar machines have surprisingly long reach and can demolish quite tall buildings. It’s not exactly silent, as the machine itself makes engine noise, and falling parts of the structure may still crash to the ground, but it’s quieter (and spreads less) than some of the alternatives.

“Silent” is a somewhat relative term. When buildings in city centres are pulled down by machines with big pincers on an arm, that can be described as silent.

They use a building deconstruction technique in Japan.

Thanks Ike Witt. Thank you all. Very helpful

I watched one in Elyria, Ohio many decades ago. It was a 4 story brick commercial building in close proximity to the ones on either side. They had gutted the building as much as possible and even removed small sections of the lower wall. Like making several doorways. Then they wrapped a large chain around the building to two huge bulldozers which pulled the U shaped chain through the building. The dozers really scrambled to get traction on the street. Eventually the dozers won and the chain snapped through the walls and everything tumbled into itself with a cloud of dust.


There are also techniques which use eat, either heating a closed area to generate steam pressure, or heating a stone and then pouring cold water on it to cause cracks. I believe these were used in ancient times, but to demolish stones for mining, or to create appropriate stone blocks for building pyramids & other structures.

I think these too are not used anymore.

Is anyone else old enough to think immediately of “Hush-a-boom” or Nitrowhisperin when seeing the thread title?