Ball Mill The ball mill has been around for eons. There are many shapes and sizes and types. There is a single enclosed drum-type where material is placed in the drum along with a charge of grinding media. These can be in various shapes, and typically they are balls. There is a whole science in the size of the starting material versus the ball size, shape material of construction and charge percentage of grinding media. All of these variables affect particle size, shape, and grinding efficiency. This type of grinding is very good for abrasive materials to prevent contamination. The grinding media as well as the interior surfaces of the mill can be lined with abrasion resistant materials suited to the material being ground. In some cases, it can even be the material being ground. However, the batch type system is not a very efficient means of grinding. There is a variety of ball mill that is a continuous process versus a batch process. It has an external classifier which returns the oversized material to the ball mill for further milling. This system is much more efficient in the grinding ability, but it is much more difficult to line the entire system with wear parts to grind an abrasive material.
Ball mill grinding is one method of crushing ore to an appropriate size fraction.Specifically, ore is put into a large receptacle (a drum) and then it rotates slowly around.Inside the receptacle, there are balls, usually made of metal, that as the ore is rotated around the revolving drum the ore is crushed as the balls rise and fall.The drum has a slight tilt to it, from one end to the other so that the ore slowly works its way to discharging end.The trick or art to all of this is to rotate the drum at a distinct rpm and the balls are harder than the ore so as to efficiently crush the continuous stream of ore to the desired size at the discharge end.
The ball mill is a key piece of equipment for grinding crushed materials, and it is widely used in production lines for powders such as cement, silicates, refractory material, fertilizer, glass ceramics, etc. as well as for ore dressing of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The ball mill can grind various ores and other materials either wet or dry. There are two kinds of ball mill, grate type and overfall type due to different ways of discharging material. There are many types of grinding media suitable for use in a ball mill, each material having its own specific properties and advantages. Key properties of grinding media are size, density, hardness, and composition.
The grinding chamber can also be filled with an inertshield gasthat does not react with the material being ground, to prevent oxidation or explosive reactions that could occur with ambient air inside the mill.
Size analyses of mineral products are usually made by screening with a set of sieves having mean apertures arranged in the Tyler scale, which is a geometric progression with a constant ratio equal to the square root of two. For this reason it is convenient to represent particle size as a logarithmic function of the particle diameter
The variable, x, may be defined as the logarithm to the base s of the ratio of the particle diameter to the reference diameter, d. The inverse of the transformation given in equation 1 is given by equation 2:
where yi is the weight fraction in the size interval between xi-l and xi; N is the total number of size intervals. If the reference diameter is equal to the maximum sieve aperture represented in the screen analysis and this is taken as the axis for the first moment, xo is zero and the first moment is the value of x corresponding to the mean particle size:
These higher moments contain the essential information concerning the form of the distribution function; that is, they are parameters that measure various aspects of the way in which the weight fraction is distributed about the mean. The second moment, or variance, measures the width of the distribution; the third moment measures the skewness or asymmetry; the fourth moment measures the kurtosis or peakedness; etc. Obviously, higher moments are increasingly dependent on values of the weight fraction remote from the mean which represent only a small fraction of the sample. For this reason, moments beyond the fourth are usually not considered. The third and fourth moments are usually represented as dimensionless ratios with respect to the second moment:
Moment analysis is a well-established method for analyzing and characterizing statistical distribution. Quoting from one of the standard treatises in mathematical statistics: For all ordinary purposes, therefore, a knowledge of the moments, when they exist, is equivalent to a knowledge of the distribution function: equivalent, that is, in the sense that it should be possible theoretically to exhibit all the properties of the distribution in terms of the moments.The procedures that have been developed for computation of moments and deriving distribution functions that best fit the data are fully discussed in a book by Elderton which has recently been published in a new edition. The application of moment analyses to particle size distribution data is discussed in a previous paper by the author.
When uniform sized samples of cryptocrystalline quartz were crushed by impact in a drop-weight machine, the reduction in size, as measured by the change in the mean value of x, was found to follow the relationship in equations 8 and 9
Equation 8 is an empirical relationship derived by multiple regression analyses of various combinations of independent variables from the data on the impact crushing experiments. The logarithms of E, the impact energy per unit weight of mineral, and d0, the initial mean particle diameter, gave the greatest decrease in variance between the observed and expected values. The threshold energy, Eo, which is the energy corresponding to zero size reduction, varies approximately inversely as the diameter of the particle being crushed.
Analyses of other data obtained by Hukki, using a double pendulum apparatus for impact crushing, gave slightly larger values for the coefficients in equations 8 and 9 and the exponent of do was slightly larger than one. If the exponent of do is assumed to be unity, the equation derived for the combined data from the Hukki and Bureau of Mines experiments gives the equations 10 and 11
These equations represent a best fit of data from 39 experiments on impact crushing of quartz particles ranging in size from .156 to 5.75 cm in diameter. The standard error for x is .387 as compared with 1.192 for the observed data.
The form of the distribution curve was found to be primarily a function of the size reduction. The distribution function of the initial uniform sample is a delta function. As soon as any size reduction occurs, there is a transfer of material to a wide range of sizes thereby increasing the dispersion. The change in distribution is asymetric since crushing transfers material only to the finer sizes, and so the skewness, as measured by 1, initially has a very large value. In other words, as a uniform sample is progressively decreased in size, there is a progressive increase in dispersion as measured by 2 and a decrease in skewness as measured by 1.
These changes are shown in Figure 1 which depicts the changes in distribution that occur in size distribution when quartz samples are subjected to increasing impact energy. As size reduction proceeds, the effect of the initial uniform distribution is gradually obliterated and both ant! tend to approach steady values. The variance tends to approach a steady value of 18 which corresponds to a standard deviation of 4.25 or a little more than four intervals in the Tyler sieve scale. The skewness levels off at a value between 1.6 and 1.8.
The manner in which energy is employed in a ball mill to effect size reduction is much more complex than in simple impact crushing. The application of energy in a drop-weight machine is similar to that occurring in a stamp mill, in which a considerable size reduction is produced by a single impact of relatively high energy input. In a tumbling mill, such as a ball mill, the size reduction occurs by repeated application of kinetic energy of less intensity by impact and rolling action of a large number of crushing media, in certain circumstances an appreciable amount of size reduction may occur by abrasion.
A series of studies has been made at the University of California in Berkeley on the grinding of dolomite in a ball mill. These tests were made in a specially designed mill in which the input energy can be measured.
A series of impact crushing experiments was made on a sample of the same dolomite used by Berlioz. The results of those experiments are summarized in Table 1. The results of these experiments permit comparison of the size reduction by impact and by ball mill grinding for the same energy input. Differences in the behavior of the particle size distribution may also be observed.
A comparison of the size reduction by impact and ball mill grinding is shown in figure 2. The ball mill experiments show the size reduction versus energy input for 7 series of experiments in which the weight of dolomite was 660, 1320, 1980, 2640, 3300, 3960, and 5420, respectively. The charge was composed of equal portions of -7 +8 and -8 +10 size fractions. The ball load was 455 stainless steel balls one inch in diameter, having a total weight of 30 kg. The particle size distribution was observed after 20, 40, 60, 80, 100, 150, 200 and 300 ball mill revolutions. The energy input was calculated from the net torque (corrected for the torque for the empty mill) and the number of revolutions.
For light ball loads the ball mill is less efficient as might be expected. As the load exceeds 1980 gm it has no influence on size reduction. The relationship between size reduction and input for optimum grinding in the ball mill is represented by the solid curve. The corresponding relationship for crushing by impact is represented by broken lines.
It is evident, as might be expected, that for moderate size reduction (x<5) the input energy is utilized much more effectively in the drop-weight machine than in the ball mill. For example, reduction to one-half of the original particle size requires about 4-3 kg cm per gm by impact as compared to 18.5 kg-cm by ball mill; that is, the energy requirements are less than 25 percent as much for impact crushing as for ball milling. For great size reduction the application of energy by a single impact becomes less effective so that there would be no advantage in applying more impact energy than would be required for about a four-fold reduction of particle diameter; this is equivalent to x = k. The energy required would be about percent that required for an equivalent size reduction in the ball mill.
The change in particle size distribution during ball milling is shown by the graphs of the variance and skewness in Figure 3. Here again, the points representing variance for those experiments with light ball mill loads show a noticeable divergence from those for optimum loading. The skewness is not affected by the load.
The differences in distribution between the products from the ball mill and those from impact crushing can be observed by comparing the solid lines, which represent the ball mill products, with the broken lines, which represent the products from the drop-weight experiments. The greatest difference is in the variance. The products from the ball mill show considerably greater dispersion over the size range and this dispersion develops sooner as the mean size is decreased. On the other hand, the skewness decreases earliest for impact crushing. The differences in size distribution are essentially difference in degree of dispersion and asymmetry. Actually there is a surprising similarity in the evolution of the distribution from uniform particle size to a typical skewed bell-shaped curve as the size is reduced whether by the ball mill or impact crushing.
The comminution process may be represented mathematically in terms of a set of state variables that define the mean size and size distribution of the feed to and product from a grinding machine. Three variables are required to specify the particulate state of the mineral undergoing size reduction; these variables define quantitatively the mean particle size, degree of dispersion and asymmetry of the distribution. Such a set of variables may be calculated by moment analysis of the screen analysis of the aggregate being studied. Conversely, if the mean, variance, and skewness of a size distribution are known, a gamma distribution function may be derived that will approximate the weight fraction in any given size range.
When a sized fraction of particles is subjected to comminution, the size distribution undergoes progressive change characterized by a steady increase in the variance or second moment and an abrupt decrease in skewness or third moment. As size reduction proceeds further, both the variance and skewness approach steady values and the form of the distribution becomes more and more stable.
Ball milling is a size reduction technique that uses media in a rotating cylindrical chamber to mill materials to a fine powder. As the chamber rotates, the media is lifted up on the rising side and then cascades down from near the top of the chamber. With this motion, the particles in between the media and chamber walls are reduced in size by both impact and abrasion. In ball milling, the desired particle size is achieved by controlling the time, applied energy, and the size and density of the grinding media. The optimal milling occurs at a critical speed. Ball mills can operate in either a wet or dry state. While milling without any added liquid is commonplace, adding water or other liquids can produce the finest particles and provide a ready-to-use dispersion at the same time.
Grinding media comes in many shapes and types with each having its own specific properties and advantages. Key properties of grinding media include composition, hardness, size and density. Some common types include alumina, stainless steel, yttria stabilized zirconia and sand. Ball milling will result in a ball curve particle size distribution with one or more peaks. Screening may be required to remove over or undersized materials.
The ball mill accepts the SAG or AG mill product. Ball mills give a controlled final grind and produce flotation feed of a uniform size. Ball mills tumble iron or steel balls with the ore. The balls are initially 510 cm diameter but gradually wear away as grinding of the ore proceeds. The feed to ball mills (dry basis) is typically 75 vol.-% ore and 25% steel.
The ball mill is operated in closed circuit with a particle-size measurement device and size-control cyclones. The cyclones send correct-size material on to flotation and direct oversize material back to the ball mill for further grinding.
Grinding elements in ball mills travel at different velocities. Therefore, collision force, direction and kinetic energy between two or more elements vary greatly within the ball charge. Frictional wear or rubbing forces act on the particles, as well as collision energy. These forces are derived from the rotational motion of the balls and movement of particles within the mill and contact zones of colliding balls.
By rotation of the mill body, due to friction between mill wall and balls, the latter rise in the direction of rotation till a helix angle does not exceed the angle of repose, whereupon, the balls roll down. Increasing of rotation rate leads to growth of the centrifugal force and the helix angle increases, correspondingly, till the component of weight strength of balls become larger than the centrifugal force. From this moment the balls are beginning to fall down, describing during falling certain parabolic curves (Figure 2.7). With the further increase of rotation rate, the centrifugal force may become so large that balls will turn together with the mill body without falling down. The critical speed n (rpm) when the balls are attached to the wall due to centrifugation:
where Dm is the mill diameter in meters. The optimum rotational speed is usually set at 6580% of the critical speed. These data are approximate and may not be valid for metal particles that tend to agglomerate by welding.
The degree of filling the mill with balls also influences productivity of the mill and milling efficiency. With excessive filling, the rising balls collide with falling ones. Generally, filling the mill by balls must not exceed 3035% of its volume.
The mill productivity also depends on many other factors: physical-chemical properties of feed material, filling of the mill by balls and their sizes, armor surface shape, speed of rotation, milling fineness and timely moving off of ground product.
where b.ap is the apparent density of the balls; l is the degree of filling of the mill by balls; n is revolutions per minute; 1, and 2 are coefficients of efficiency of electric engine and drive, respectively.
A feature of ball mills is their high specific energy consumption; a mill filled with balls, working idle, consumes approximately as much energy as at full-scale capacity, i.e. during grinding of material. Therefore, it is most disadvantageous to use a ball mill at less than full capacity.
The ball mill is a tumbling mill that uses steel balls as the grinding media. The length of the cylindrical shell is usually 11.5 times the shell diameter (Figure 8.11). The feed can be dry, with less than 3% moisture to minimize ball coating, or slurry containing 2040% water by weight. Ball mills are employed in either primary or secondary grinding applications. In primary applications, they receive their feed from crushers, and in secondary applications, they receive their feed from rod mills, AG mills, or SAG mills.
Ball mills are filled up to 40% with steel balls (with 3080mm diameter), which effectively grind the ore. The material that is to be ground fills the voids between the balls. The tumbling balls capture the particles in ball/ball or ball/liner events and load them to the point of fracture.
When hard pebbles rather than steel balls are used for the grinding media, the mills are known as pebble mills. As mentioned earlier, pebble mills are widely used in the North American taconite iron ore operations. Since the weight of pebbles per unit volume is 3555% of that of steel balls, and as the power input is directly proportional to the volume weight of the grinding medium, the power input and capacity of pebble mills are correspondingly lower. Thus, in a given grinding circuit, for a certain feed rate, a pebble mill would be much larger than a ball mill, with correspondingly a higher capital cost. However, the increase in capital cost is justified economically by a reduction in operating cost attributed to the elimination of steel grinding media.
In general, ball mills can be operated either wet or dry and are capable of producing products in the order of 100m. This represents reduction ratios of as great as 100. Very large tonnages can be ground with these ball mills because they are very effective material handling devices. Ball mills are rated by power rather than capacity. Today, the largest ball mill in operation is 8.53m diameter and 13.41m long with a corresponding motor power of 22MW (Toromocho, private communications).
Planetary ball mills. A planetary ball mill consists of at least one grinding jar, which is arranged eccentrically on a so-called sun wheel. The direction of movement of the sun wheel is opposite to that of the grinding jars according to a fixed ratio. The grinding balls in the grinding jars are subjected to superimposed rotational movements. The jars are moved around their own axis and, in the opposite direction, around the axis of the sun wheel at uniform speed and uniform rotation ratios. The result is that the superimposition of the centrifugal forces changes constantly (Coriolis motion). The grinding balls describe a semicircular movement, separate from the inside wall, and collide with the opposite surface at high impact energy. The difference in speeds produces an interaction between frictional and impact forces, which releases high dynamic energies. The interplay between these forces produces the high and very effective degree of size reduction of the planetary ball mill. Planetary ball mills are smaller than common ball mills, and are mainly used in laboratories for grinding sample material down to very small sizes.
Vibration mill. Twin- and three-tube vibrating mills are driven by an unbalanced drive. The entire filling of the grinding cylinders, which comprises the grinding media and the feed material, constantly receives impulses from the circular vibrations in the body of the mill. The grinding action itself is produced by the rotation of the grinding media in the opposite direction to the driving rotation and by continuous head-on collisions of the grinding media. The residence time of the material contained in the grinding cylinders is determined by the quantity of the flowing material. The residence time can also be influenced by using damming devices. The sample passes through the grinding cylinders in a helical curve and slides down from the inflow to the outflow. The high degree of fineness achieved is the result of this long grinding procedure. Continuous feeding is carried out by vibrating feeders, rotary valves, or conveyor screws. The product is subsequently conveyed either pneumatically or mechanically. They are basically used to homogenize food and feed.
CryoGrinder. As small samples (100 mg or <20 ml) are difficult to recover from a standard mortar and pestle, the CryoGrinder serves as an alternative. The CryoGrinder is a miniature mortar shaped as a small well and a tightly fitting pestle. The CryoGrinder is prechilled, then samples are added to the well and ground by a handheld cordless screwdriver. The homogenization and collection of the sample is highly efficient. In environmental analysis, this system is used when very small samples are available, such as small organisms or organs (brains, hepatopancreas, etc.).
The vibratory ball mill is another kind of high-energy ball mill that is used mainly for preparing amorphous alloys. The vials capacities in the vibratory mills are smaller (about 10 ml in volume) compared to the previous types of mills. In this mill, the charge of the powder and milling tools are agitated in three perpendicular directions (Fig. 1.6) at very high speed, as high as 1200 rpm.
Another type of the vibratory ball mill, which is used at the van der Waals-Zeeman Laboratory, consists of a stainless steel vial with a hardened steel bottom, and a single hardened steel ball of 6 cm in diameter (Fig. 1.7).
The mill is evacuated during milling to a pressure of 106 Torr, in order to avoid reactions with a gas atmosphere. Subsequently, this mill is suitable for mechanical alloying of some special systems that are highly reactive with the surrounding atmosphere, such as rare earth elements.
A ball mill is a relatively simple apparatus in which the motion of the reactor, or of a part of it, induces a series of collisions of balls with each other and with the reactor walls (Suryanarayana, 2001). At each collision, a fraction of the powder inside the reactor is trapped between the colliding surfaces of the milling tools and submitted to a mechanical load at relatively high strain rates (Suryanarayana, 2001). This load generates a local nonhydrostatic mechanical stress at every point of contact between any pair of powder particles. The specific features of the deformation processes induced by these stresses depend on the intensity of the mechanical stresses themselves, on the details of the powder particle arrangement, that is on the topology of the contact network, and on the physical and chemical properties of powders (Martin et al., 2003; Delogu, 2008a). At the end of any given collision event, the powder that has been trapped is remixed with the powder that has not undergone this process. Correspondingly, at any instant in the mechanical processing, the whole powder charge includes fractions of powder that have undergone a different number of collisions.
The individual reactive processes at the perturbed interface between metallic elements are expected to occur on timescales that are, at most, comparable with the collision duration (Hammerberg et al., 1998; Urakaev and Boldyrev, 2000; Lund and Schuh, 2003; Delogu and Cocco, 2005a,b). Therefore, unless the ball mill is characterized by unusually high rates of powder mixing and frequency of collisions, reactive events initiated by local deformation processes at a given collision are not affected by a successive collision. Indeed, the time interval between successive collisions is significantly longer than the time period required by local structural perturbations for full relaxation (Hammerberg et al., 1998; Urakaev and Boldyrev, 2000; Lund and Schuh, 2003; Delogu and Cocco, 2005a,b).
These few considerations suffice to point out the two fundamental features of powder processing by ball milling, which in turn govern the MA processes in ball mills. First, mechanical processing by ball milling is a discrete processing method. Second, it has statistical character. All of this has important consequences for the study of the kinetics of MA processes. The fact that local deformation events are connected to individual collisions suggests that absolute time is not an appropriate reference quantity to describe mechanically induced phase transformations. Such a description should rather be made as a function of the number of collisions (Delogu et al., 2004). A satisfactory description of the MA kinetics must also account for the intrinsic statistical character of powder processing by ball milling. The amount of powder trapped in any given collision, at the end of collision is indeed substantially remixed with the other powder in the reactor. It follows that the same amount, or a fraction of it, could at least in principle be trapped again in the successive collision.
This is undoubtedly a difficult aspect to take into account in a mathematical description of MA kinetics. There are at least two extreme cases to consider. On the one hand, it could be assumed that the powder trapped in a given collision cannot be trapped in the successive one. On the other, it could be assumed that powder mixing is ideal and that the amount of powder trapped at a given collision has the same probability of being processed in the successive collision. Both these cases allow the development of a mathematical model able to describe the relationship between apparent kinetics and individual collision events. However, the latter assumption seems to be more reliable than the former one, at least for commercial mills characterized by relatively complex displacement in the reactor (Manai et al., 2001, 2004).
A further obvious condition for the successful development of a mathematical description of MA processes is the one related to the uniformity of collision regimes. More specifically, it is highly desirable that the powders trapped at impact always experience the same conditions. This requires the control of the ball dynamics inside the reactor, which can be approximately obtained by using a single milling ball and an amount of powder large enough to assure inelastic impact conditions (Manai et al., 2001, 2004; Delogu et al., 2004). In fact, the use of a single milling ball avoids impacts between balls, which have a remarkable disordering effect on the ball dynamics, whereas inelastic impact conditions permit the establishment of regular and periodic ball dynamics (Manai et al., 2001, 2004; Delogu et al., 2004).
All of the above assumptions and observations represent the basis and guidelines for the development of the mathematical model briefly outlined in the following. It has been successfully applied to the case of a Spex Mixer/ Mill mod. 8000, but the same approach can, in principle, be used for other ball mills.
The Planetary ball mills are the most popular mills used in MM, MA, and MD scientific researches for synthesizing almost all of the materials presented in Figure 1.1. In this type of mill, the milling media have considerably high energy, because milling stock and balls come off the inner wall of the vial (milling bowl or vial) and the effective centrifugal force reaches up to 20 times gravitational acceleration.
The centrifugal forces caused by the rotation of the supporting disc and autonomous turning of the vial act on the milling charge (balls and powders). Since the turning directions of the supporting disc and the vial are opposite, the centrifugal forces alternately are synchronized and opposite. Therefore, the milling media and the charged powders alternatively roll on the inner wall of the vial, and are lifted and thrown off across the bowl at high speed, as schematically presented in Figure 2.17.
However, there are some companies in the world who manufacture and sell number of planetary-type ball mills; Fritsch GmbH (www.fritsch-milling.com) and Retsch (http://www.retsch.com) are considered to be the oldest and principal companies in this area.
Fritsch produces different types of planetary ball mills with different capacities and rotation speeds. Perhaps, Fritsch Pulverisette P5 (Figure 2.18(a)) and Fritsch Pulverisette P6 (Figure 2.18(b)) are the most popular models of Fritsch planetary ball mills. A variety of vials and balls made of different materials with different capacities, starting from 80ml up to 500ml, are available for the Fritsch Pulverisette planetary ball mills; these include tempered steel, stainless steel, tungsten carbide, agate, sintered corundum, silicon nitride, and zirconium oxide. Figure 2.19 presents 80ml-tempered steel vial (a) and 500ml-agate vials (b) together with their milling media that are made of the same materials.
Figure 2.18. Photographs of Fritsch planetary-type high-energy ball mill of (a) Pulverisette P5 and (b) Pulverisette P6. The equipment is housed in the Nanotechnology Laboratory, Energy and Building Research Center (EBRC), Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR).
Figure 2.19. Photographs of the vials used for Fritsch planetary ball mills with capacity of (a) 80ml and (b) 500ml. The vials and the balls shown in (a) and (b) are made of tempered steel agate materials, respectively (Nanotechnology Laboratory, Energy and Building Research Center (EBRC), Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR)).
More recently and in year 2011, Fritsch GmbH (http://www.fritsch-milling.com) introduced a new high-speed and versatile planetary ball mill called Planetary Micro Mill PULVERISETTE 7 (Figure 2.20). The company claims this new ball mill will be helpful to enable extreme high-energy ball milling at rotational speed reaching to 1,100rpm. This allows the new mill to achieve sensational centrifugal accelerations up to 95 times Earth gravity. They also mentioned that the energy application resulted from this new machine is about 150% greater than the classic planetary mills. Accordingly, it is expected that this new milling machine will enable the researchers to get their milled powders in short ball-milling time with fine powder particle sizes that can reach to be less than 1m in diameter. The vials available for this new type of mill have sizes of 20, 45, and 80ml. Both the vials and balls can be made of the same materials, which are used in the manufacture of large vials used for the classic Fritsch planetary ball mills, as shown in the previous text.
Retsch has also produced a number of capable high-energy planetary ball mills with different capacities (http://www.retsch.com/products/milling/planetary-ball-mills/); namely Planetary Ball Mill PM 100 (Figure 2.21(a)), Planetary Ball Mill PM 100 CM, Planetary Ball Mill PM 200, and Planetary Ball Mill PM 400 (Figure 2.21(b)). Like Fritsch, Retsch offers high-quality ball-milling vials with different capacities (12, 25, 50, 50, 125, 250, and 500ml) and balls of different diameters (540mm), as exemplified in Figure 2.22. These milling tools can be made of hardened steel as well as other different materials such as carbides, nitrides, and oxides.
Figure 2.21. Photographs of Retsch planetary-type high-energy ball mill of (a) PM 100 and (b) PM 400. The equipment is housed in the Nanotechnology Laboratory, Energy and Building Research Center (EBRC), Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR).
Figure 2.22. Photographs of the vials used for Retsch planetary ball mills with capacity of (a) 80ml, (b) 250ml, and (c) 500ml. The vials and the balls shown are made of tempered steel (Nanotechnology Laboratory, Energy and Building Research Center (EBRC), Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR)).
Both Fritsch and Retsch companies have offered special types of vials that allow monitoring and measure the gas pressure and temperature inside the vial during the high-energy planetary ball-milling process. Moreover, these vials allow milling the powders under inert (e.g., argon or helium) or reactive gas (e.g., hydrogen or nitrogen) with a maximum gas pressure of 500kPa (5bar). It is worth mentioning here that such a development made on the vials design allows the users and researchers to monitor the progress tackled during the MA and MD processes by following up the phase transformations and heat realizing upon RBM, where the interaction of the gas used with the freshly created surfaces of the powders during milling (adsorption, absorption, desorption, and decomposition) can be monitored. Furthermore, the data of the temperature and pressure driven upon using this system is very helpful when the ball mills are used for the formation of stable (e.g., intermetallic compounds) and metastable (e.g., amorphous and nanocrystalline materials) phases. In addition, measuring the vial temperature during blank (without samples) high-energy ball mill can be used as an indication to realize the effects of friction, impact, and conversion processes.
More recently, Evico-magnetics (www.evico-magnetics.de) has manufactured an extraordinary high-pressure milling vial with gas-temperature-monitoring (GTM) system. Likewise both system produced by Fritsch and Retsch, the developed system produced by Evico-magnetics, allowing RBM but at very high gas pressure that can reach to 15,000kPa (150bar). In addition, it allows in situ monitoring of temperature and of pressure by incorporating GTM. The vials, which can be used with any planetary mills, are made of hardened steel with capacity up to 220ml. The manufacturer offers also two-channel system for simultaneous use of two milling vials.
Using different ball mills as examples, it has been shown that, on the basis of the theory of glancing collision of rigid bodies, the theoretical calculation of tPT conditions and the kinetics of mechanochemical processes are possible for the reactors that are intended to perform different physicochemical processes during mechanical treatment of solids. According to the calculations, the physicochemical effect of mechanochemical reactors is due to short-time impulses of pressure (P = ~ 10101011 dyn cm2) with shift, and temperature T(x, t). The highest temperature impulse T ~ 103 K are caused by the dry friction phenomenon.
Typical spatial and time parameters of the impactfriction interaction of the particles with a size R ~ 104 cm are as follows: localization region, x ~ 106 cm; time, t ~ 108 s. On the basis of the obtained theoretical results, the effect of short-time contact fusion of particles treated in various comminuting devices can play a key role in the mechanism of activation and chemical reactions for wide range of mechanochemical processes. This role involves several aspects, that is, the very fact of contact fusion transforms the solid phase process onto another qualitative level, judging from the mass transfer coefficients. The spatial and time characteristics of the fused zone are such that quenching of non-equilibrium defects and intermediate products of chemical reactions occurs; solidification of the fused zone near the contact point results in the formation of a nanocrystal or nanoamor- phous state. The calculation models considered above and the kinetic equations obtained using them allow quantitative ab initio estimates of rate constants to be performed for any specific processes of mechanical activation and chemical transformation of the substances in ball mills.
There are two classes of ball mills: planetary and mixer (also called swing) mill. The terms high-speed vibration milling (HSVM), high-speed ball milling (HSBM), and planetary ball mill (PBM) are often used. The commercial apparatus are PBMs Fritsch P-5 and Fritsch Pulverisettes 6 and 7 classic line, the Retsch shaker (or mixer) mills ZM1, MM200, MM400, AS200, the Spex 8000, 6750 freezer/mill SPEX CertiPrep, and the SWH-0.4 vibrational ball mill. In some instances temperature controlled apparatus were used (58MI1); freezer/mills were used in some rare cases (13MOP1824).
The balls are made of stainless steel, agate (SiO2), zirconium oxide (ZrO2), or silicon nitride (Si3N). The use of stainless steel will contaminate the samples with steel particles and this is a problem both for solid-state NMR and for drug purity.
However, there are many types of ball mills (see Chapter 2 for more details), such as drum ball mills, jet ball mills, bead-mills, roller ball mills, vibration ball mills, and planetary ball mills, they can be grouped or classified into two types according to their rotation speed, as follows: (i) high-energy ball mills and (ii) low-energy ball mills. Table 3.1 presents characteristics and comparison between three types of ball mills (attritors, vibratory mills, planetary ball mills and roller mills) that are intensively used on MA, MD, and MM techniques.
In fact, choosing the right ball mill depends on the objectives of the process and the sort of materials (hard, brittle, ductile, etc.) that will be subjecting to the ball-milling process. For example, the characteristics and properties of those ball mills used for reduction in the particle size of the starting materials via top-down approach, or so-called mechanical milling (MM process), or for mechanically induced solid-state mixing for fabrications of composite and nanocomposite powders may differ widely from those mills used for achieving mechanically induced solid-state reaction (MISSR) between the starting reactant materials of elemental powders (MA process), or for tackling dramatic phase transformation changes on the structure of the starting materials (MD). Most of the ball mills in the market can be employed for different purposes and for preparing of wide range of new materials.
Martinez-Sanchez et al.  have pointed out that employing of high-energy ball mills not only contaminates the milled amorphous powders with significant volume fractions of impurities that come from milling media that move at high velocity, but it also affects the stability and crystallization properties of the formed amorphous phase. They have proved that the properties of the formed amorphous phase (Mo53Ni47) powder depends on the type of the ball-mill equipment (SPEX 8000D Mixer/Mill and Zoz Simoloter mill) used in their important investigations. This was indicated by the high contamination content of oxygen on the amorphous powders prepared by SPEX 8000D Mixer/Mill, when compared with the corresponding amorphous powders prepared by Zoz Simoloter mill. Accordingly, they have attributed the poor stabilities, indexed by the crystallization temperature of the amorphous phase formed by SPEX 8000D Mixer/Mill to the presence of foreign matter (impurities).
Several years ago, Davis assumed that the rate of wear of the different sizes of balls in a ball mill was directly proportional to the weight of each ball, and he evolved a formula for calculating a balanced charge. Operators have used this formula when purchasing balls for a new mill or when reloading an old one that had been emptied for repair. The formula required that the largest ball size and the size to be rejected should be determined, and after that the other sizes were set. Stress was laid on the coarsest size, and to facilitate the use of the formula many writers have made their contribution by reporting ratio of coarsest particle size to the optimum ball size. Close adherence to this ratio has prevented giving attention to sizes and amounts of particles not falling in the category of the coarsest size.
The inadequacy of the formula and the futility of extensive experimentation for ratio determinations involving the coarsest particle size only is at once obvious when it is seen that the formula did not take into account the slow grinding rate of the finer sizes of ore and the amount present. To be sure, operators who were doing very fine grinding have sometimes altered the make-up load by using some additional small balls with the big ones, but this practice has been somewhat haphazard. Too much of the work has followed the old idea that there should be no ball present that is incapable of crushing the largest particle in the feed.
Today operators have a keener sense of the relatively large amount of work required to finish the finest sizes, so that the insufficiency of the formula is readily seen. It would have been fortunate had the formula been devised to attract more attention to the large amount of finer but unfinished particles. The formula is excellent from the basis of balance with respect to ball wear, but the literature has contained very little about the rationing of ball sizes for the best grinding of all sizes and amounts of particles extending throughout the length of the mill. Research has submitted in this matter.
It is not denied that the coarse particles have to be crushed else no fine material would accrue, but here the fact is emphasized that when crushing to 200-mesh stress should be on the selection of balls of the right size and amount to crush, say, from 100- to 200-mesh; or, when crushing to 65-mesh, the operator should judiciously load the mill for crushing from 48- to 65-mesh. If this were done, the circulating load would be relieved of the large amount of nearly finished size, and in its stead there would be some coarser material from which the classifier could more easily remove the finished size. Opposing this idea is the fact that a coarse circulating load would be undesirable in some of the recent supplementary recovery processes. However, this objection might be met by introducing a bypassing screen at the end of the ball mill.
Tests of other experimenters have been supplemented with detailed information on the optimum size of balls for grinding sized ore. Figures have been obtained that show what particular size of ball is the most efficient in crushing certain sizes of chert and dolomite. It is fortunate that this work has been done,
because it has brought out facts that would have been unsuspected otherwise. The method used here for showing what particular size of ball is best for a particular particle size of ore is to some degree unique. The reason for this is that usually such tests have been run to finish the grinding at a fine size. Those tests were as much a criterion of the work on the particle size in the finished product as of the feed, but they were not so interpreted. The tests reported in this paper are different because the first step in reduction is given the main emphasis.
As a guide in laying out this work, a mill was visualized as divided into sections. The first section had the largest media and performed the first step in grinding by reducing the particles for the second section; the second section, in turn, used smaller media to reduce the articles for the third section; and so on. This line of thought was the basis for the distribution of sizes in the ball loads already mentioned.
The ball sizes were 2.75-to 0.62-inch and the ore sizes plus 65- to plus 10-mesh. The results for chert are shown in four series in table 27 and for dolomite in five series in table 28. The ore (feed) sizes are in quotation marks because they are only nominal; their meaning is set forth in the sizing analyses under feed.
Any plan adopted would give but litle more than an approximation of the facts sought, owing to the difficulty in timing the grinding correctly. If it is desired to find the effect of balls grinding 20-mesh ore and the mill is loaded with 20-mesh material, the grinding time should be infinitely short, because fine particles are made as soon as the mill starts and if the run continues the test is of the comminuted products of the 20-mesh sample rather than that which was supplied for the test.
Extrapolation back to zero time would be desirable if it were possible. However, a very short period is unsatisfactory because the flaky particles, being the first to yield, would give a wrong impression of the sample as a whole. Long grinding periods would be useless because the particle size at the end of the run would be too far removed from the original particle size under investigation. A mean procedure had to be adopted.
The surface calculations that are given must be used guardedly, else they will be misleading. The fine particle sizes are likely to be weighted too much; when the ball size for crushing 10-mesh sizes through 14-mesh is sought, the very fine sizes should be weighted with caution.
A casual examination of each series for minimum of cumulative weights in the coarse sizes of the screen analyses probably would be a fair guide to the best ball size. But this minimum, though important of consideration, is not final, because the amount, power, and time have to be taken into account. These three quantities are resolved into tons per horsepower-hour and will be applied in table 29. Before going to that table, however, the present tables may be used to bring out a fact not commonly knownballs that were too large as well as balls that were too small failed in selective grinding. In any of the series except the last one of each table, where the largest ball sizes were not large enough, the low cumulative percentage weight of the coarse sizes is in a mean position and rises with the use of larger as well as smaller balls. Hence, it is shown that balls that were too large did nonselective grinding.
mesh size in table 27 and are shown in sizing diagrams. The percentage weights of the products from the largest, and the smallest balls are shown by broken lines. They are high in the upper part of the diagram. Their position shows that much of the coarse material was not reduced through 35-mesh. The solid line shows good selective work of the balls of optimum size.
In the study of these diagrams, it must be remembered that the main variables in the tests were ball size and that the tests were timed to give the same amount of subsieve size. The conditions imposed on the tests were entirely different from closed-circuit grinding, in which the composite feeds would have been unlike, although the new feeds might have been the same.
The nonselective grinding of the off-size balls may be explained as follows: The largest balls failed on the coarsest sizes because they did not offer a sufficient number of points of contact for the number of grains present; hence, some of the particles remained at the end of the test. Furthermore, due to the small number of points of contact of such large balls, the crushing impulse was so great that the grains that did meet it received excessive comminution and much of the subsieve size resulted.
The smallest balls had so many points of contact that the impulse at a given point was too much reduced to exert sufficient stress on the coarsest particles; hence, some of them remained without the desired reduction. However, a few that were reduced yielded grains readily comminuted by the smallest balls, and much subsieve size again resulted; hence, there was an intermediate ball size for the best work.
Table 29 will now be discussed: It is made by using the two preceding tables. It gives the amount of the coarsest size per unit of power crushed through a stated coarse but finer size. To illustrate the method of calculation, take the first test in table 27: The amount of plus 65-mesh crushed through 100-mesh is 89.563.3=26.2 parts per hundred, and by the table the ton per horsepower-hour was 0.16; hence, the tons per horsepower-hour crushed through 100-mesh was 26.2/1000.16=0.042. Similarly, in the first test in the second series 97.352.0=45.3, and 45.3/1000.186=0.084 ton per horsepower-hour through 48-mesh. Thus, table 29 has four series of tests or chert and five series for dolomite. The preferred value in each series is underscored to show what seems to be the preferable ball size. The optimum ball size for grinding closely sized particles through the limiting screen, as determined by these experiments, may be expressed in the following equation
where D is diameter of ball, d is diameter of particle to be ground, and K is a constant depending on the grindability of the ore. When D and d are expressed in inches, the value of K for chert is 55 and for dolomite is 35. This formula is of the same type as that developed by Starke. He evaluated the grind through a broader range and his dimensions are in microns.
Having selected the best ball size, it will be seen by referring to tables 27 and 28 that the preferable ball size usually gave the best capacity and efficiency. Also, the preferable ball size coincides closely with the best selective grinding, the main exception being the plus 10-mesh series in table 28. There the preferable ball size is smaller than the size for the best selective grinding. Probably the exception is due to an error in planning the plus 10-mesh series; the time periods were too long and too much grinding resulted. The spread in reduction in this series was greater than in any other series. It was intended to avoid such a broad spread in reduction. In the study of the exception and the study of the sizing analyses in the other tests an attempt has been made to gain additional information by using the Gaudin log-log method for plotting sizinganalyses, but the results were not satisfactory. It is believed, however, that the method was not expected to apply to the moderate reduction of a sized product.
Tables 27 and 28 cannot be dismissed without consideration of the variation of power throughout a test. Figure 5 is submitted for that purpose. In it the time extends from 0 to 3.5 minutes. The change in power through the grinding periods was watched in all the tests. This change is illustrated in figure 5, which deals with the plus 20-mesh size in table 28. In the discussion of this figure, what will be said about the relation of power to other factors is premised by the belief that the degree to which the balls nip the particles influences the power, and that when nipping is best the power will be the highest. The curve at the bottom of the figure shows that the 2.75-inch balls required less power than the other loads. The balls were too big for good nipping, and as the grinding continued they became relatively bigger and further power reduction resulted. Correlated with this is the fact that the grinding was poor in selection and unsatisfactory in capacity and efficiency. (It is not consistent to compare the numerical-values of capacities and efficiencies of one series in tables 27 and 28 with those of another series. The principles underlying the reason were mentioned under Sillimanite balls.)
Turning next to the deportment of the 0.62-inch balls, which were the smallest in the group, the change in power from beginning to end of the run is in a reverse order from that with the largest balls. The balls were too small for good nipping, but as comminution proceeded they became relatively larger so that nipping and power increased but did not reach the high power indicating good nipping. The selective grinding, capacity, and efficiency were again poor.
The record of the 1-inch balls is more favorable. The power was high throughout the test, indicating that a desirable mean size had been reached. The selective grinding, capacities, and efficiencies were good. This all indicates that when nipping is best the mill (when not run too fast) will do its best work. This statement is not new; the evidence is given for those who wish to weigh it.
A comprehensive examination of mills that segregate the ball sizes shows that they require mixtures containing a greater number of small balls than is supplied by the Davis ball load. This deficiency was met by using the rationed ball load, in which small balls predominated. Before going ahead, the mills will be considered.
Conical mills and cylindrical mills with grids were contemplated in introducing the new loads. Hence, these mills must be discussed before showing the tests, and they must be compared with the standard cylindrical mill.
Should the ball sizes be segregated, or should they be mixed as in the standard cylindrical mill? In the metallics industry the most effective method of segregating is to place the mills in series and use succeedingly smaller balls from first to last mill in the series. In the cement industry, dividers or grids are used to divide the long mills into sections, each of which has the appropriate size of medium. Finished material is removed at the end of each section.
With the knowledge that the cone of a conical mill functions like a grid in segregating the balls with respect to size, conical mills were built and tested. The first one was only 3 feet long. A taper of 2 inches to the foot was ample to segregate the largest balls in the big end and the smallest balls in the small end. Grinding tests in this mill with a rationed ball load were compared with the old cylindrical mill loaded with the old style ball load. A decided advantage was gained by the newer practice.
A larger conical mill was built and is shown in figure 6. It was 6 feet long and had the same taper as the smaller one. The big end was 2 feet in diameter and the small end 1 foot. The ability of the mill to segregate the balls was demonstrated by tests.
Grinding tests with several types of mills and ball loads led to the conclusion that advantages that had been gained were due more to the appropriate average size of balls than to the new design of mill. It was difficult to show that the conical mills had an outstanding advantage over the cylindrical mill. The 6-foot conical mill had a disadvantage; it induced the media to drift to the big end and pile up there so much that the balls passed through the feed entrance into the scoop. For a simple remedy a grid was placed on the feed opening to retain the load. A change was made to a cylindrical mill lined with a series of identical truncated cones. The idea was suggested by C. L. Carman, of Independence, Kans.
Although the efficiency of the long cone was good, the loss in capacity induced by the taper was marked. This may be shown by the following analysis: If the last unit section with diameter D2 = 1 foot could be speeded up to the same percent critical as the first unit section with diameter D1 = 2 feet, it would have a relatively low capacity
A 2- by 3-foot cylindrical mill was lined to employ the conical effect, but instead of having one cone it had three identical truncated cones, end to end, and apexing in the same direction. (See fig. 7.) Any cylindrical mill may be lined in this fashion by using liners tapered in thickness. If the liners are 2 feet long, a 12-foot mill would have six truncated cones, end to end. The mill would have the same capacity at the discharge end as at the feed end. In some way, at least, this would be an advantage over the long cone. The mill with truncated cones proved to be as good a sizing device as the long single cone, but when compared with the old cylindrical mill its advantage as a grinder was not marked.
Finally, a cylindrical mill with a grid was used. The grid was 1 foot from the feed end of a 2- by 3-foot cylindrical mill. Balls of 2.5 inches to 1 inch were placed in the feed-end sections and 0.75-inch balls in the discharge end. The grinding was moderately better than without the grid. Possibly the grid would have appeared to have more advantage if the feed had been coarser and the finishing finer. The
In table 30, grinding to a fine size was stressed to give the extra amount of small media in the new load a chance to work advantageously. Grinding was continuous and about 74 percent of the product passed through 200-mesh. The Davis ball load in the cylindrical mill was used first; next, the rationed ball load was used in the same mill; and finally, the rationed ball load was used in a mill having a lining of truncated cones. In selecting the Davis ball load the no. 1 load was used instead of no. 2 in accordance with the old idea that all of the balls should be of a size to crush any of the particles of ore. The free migration of the ore induced by the large, interstices would be compatible with a heavy circulating load. In the cylindrical mill the work of the rationed ball load was about 60 percent better than the Davis ball load, and when the mill which was lined with truncated cones was used there was a further gain of about 5 percent. The rationed ball load left more of the coarse sizes unfinished.
In table 31 the results of five tests with different ball loads in cylindrical, grid, and conical mills are shown. The feed was coarser than was used in table 30. The grinding in test 2 with the rationed ball load, which contained 64 percent of 0.75-inch balls, was about 44 percent more efficient than with the Davis load. The power was about 11 percent higher. If Davis ball load no. 2 instead of no. 1 had been used, the divergence in grinding results would have been reduced. In test 3, in which the grid was used to segregate the different sizes of balls, a further advantage of about 4 percent in efficiency is shown. The conical mill in test 4 increased the efficiency to 58 percent more than in test 1. The efficiency with the long (6-foot) conical mill was about the same as with the short (3-foot) one.
The validity of having graded sizes of balls to grind the ore in steps with ample provisions for a circulating load and removal of fines in each step cannot be denied, but without this quick removal of finished material the advantage was not great.
In the conical mills or in the grid mill, as used in these tests, it was difficult to set a correct feed rate. If the feed were too fast some of the coarse particles would pass the zone intended to grind them. Having passed that zone, they were likely to continue without being ground. Again, if the feed were too slow, energy would be wasted by making the fine particles remain too long with the coarse medium. Nonselective grinding and inefficiency would result.
Thus far the evidence of the efficacy of a rationed load in plant operation may be questioned because, as is shown by tables 30 and 31, the coarse sizes were not reduced as much as with the Davis load. Fear was entertained lest a circulating load might develop trouble- some characteristics. Hence, closed-circuit grinding was tried.
Rationed ball sizes were of advantage in batch and open-circuit grinding. The degree depended on the particle size of feed and product. Examination will now be made to see if the deportment of rationed sizes is satisfactory in closed-circuit grinding.
The tests were performed as shown in tables 32 and 33. In the first table dolomite B was used, and in the second the feed was chert rejects from earlier grinding tests. The procedures in the two tables have one fundamental difference; in table 32 the feed to the rationed ball load was increased on account of the extra efficiency of the rationed sizes, whereas in table 33 the feed was maintained at the same rate but the mill speed was reduced. That is, in the first table the advantage is shown by the increased amount of ore ground, and in the second the advantage is shown by the power saved. If preference is given to one of the two methods it should apply to the latter, because in it the two ball loads being compared deal with the same amount of feed, and the drag is worked under almost identical conditions. The pulp consistencies of the drag overflows were maintained at 17 percent solids.
In table 32 the drag classifier finished at a finer size when rationed sizes of balls were used. This variation is on the right side for safe conclusions about the advantage of the new ball load. With the Davis ball load, 2.95 pounds per minute were finished, and with the rationed ball load the amount was increased to 4.06 pounds perminute an increase of 37 percent. The surface tons per hour show, an increase of 45 percent in favor of the rationed ball sizes, and the surface tons per horsepower-hour show a more moderate advantage37 percent. The reason the advantage in capacity was greater than in efficiency is because of the difference in power in the two tests; the smaller balls required more power than the larger ones. The surface calculations are made from the part of the table marked section 3. There a composite feed has been calculated, so that surface calculation can be based on feed and product. However, the ultimate values would have been the same if the sizing analyses of new feed and over- flow in sections 1 and 2 had been used.
It will be seen that the circulating loads in each table are about the same, respectively. Due precaution was taken to make sure that the circulating load was balanced, about 2 hours being required after the last adjustment.
The closed-circuit set-ups are shown in figures 8 and 9. They do not include the inclined belt and weightometer formerly used. A better plan was to permit the drag sand to fall into buckets and at set intervals to pass the sand back to the new-ore belt feeder after a hurried weighing. The record of the weights obtained after decanting
superfluous water indicated the trend of the circulating load, but a more accurate estimate was made at frequent intervals by catching the ball-mill discharge in a graduate and weighing it. The weight of solids minus new feed gave the circulating load with exactness. The test was continued for a goodly period after the amount of discharge became constant.
In the two tests shown in Table 33, the overflows are nearly identical. The innovation in the manner of conducting the tests, as stated before, was to keep the new feed constant and reduce the speed of the mill containing the new ball load until the circulating load in section 2 was the same as in section 1. When the new ball load was used, the speed was reduced from 70 to 55 percent critical and the capacity was maintained. The increase in efficiency was 28 percent. The Davis ball load took 22.6 percent more power than the rationed ball load.
The comparison of different sizes of media when the mill speeds are not the same might not have been justified by the old literature, but it is justified by table 13, which shows that for speeds from 40 to 70 percent critical, inclusive, the efficiencies were almost identical when the amount of ore in the mill was the same; of course, capacity increased with speed. It is readily seen from table 33 that the capacity with the rationed ball load at 55 percent speed was about the same as with the Davis load at 70 percent speed. If the finishing could have been at 200-mesh in all the closed-circuit tests, the load of large balls would have been greatly handicapped and the load of small balls would have had a greater relative advantage. Then the difference in efficiency might have been as much as 75 percent. The grinding seems to have been a little more selective with the larger media.
By table 2 the diameter of the ball of average weight in the rationed load no. 2 was 1 inch. A load of 1-inch balls would have given about the same results but would not have permitted the study of the effect of segregation in the grid and conical mills. Furthermore, the practical application would have been doubtful. A Davis ball load with sizes from 1 to 1 inch would have done good work, but it would not have been representative of the old standard because some of the balls would have been too small to crush the largest particles.
The quantities obtained in these tests enable the mill man to get a vision of the amount of power required to do his grinding. Take, for example, the tests represented by section 1 in table 33, in which grinding was to flotation size by what may be called the ordinary ball load and the ore feed was almost 100-percent Tri-State chert through 8-mesh. Calculations show that the net energy input was 21 horsepower-hours per ton. One-third should be added for friction and motor losses, which would bring the motor input up to 28 horsepower-hours per ton of ore. An ore would have to be rich to justify the expenditure of so much additional power for grinding.
Particle size reduction of materials in a ball mill with the presence of metallic balls or other media dates back to the late 1800s. The basic construction of a ball mill is a cylindrical container with journals at its axis. The cylinder is filled with grinding media (ceramic or metallic balls or rods), the product to be ground is added and the cylinder is put into rotation via an external drive causing the media to roll, slide and cascade. Lifting baffles are supplied to prevent the outer layer of media to simply roll around the cylinder.
Mill cylinders are typically supplied with a cooling jacket on their cylindrical portion for temperature control, especially when processing temperature-sensitive materials. For extreme temperatures, the ends of the cylinder can also be furnished with cooling apparatus.
A ball mill also known as pebble mill or tumbling mill is a milling machine that consists of a hallow cylinder containing balls; mounted on a metallic frame such that it can be rotated along its longitudinal axis. The balls which could be of different diameter occupy 30 50 % of the mill volume and its size depends on the feed and mill size. The large balls tend to break down the coarse feed materials and the smaller balls help to form fine product by reducing void spaces between the balls. Ball mills grind material by impact and attrition.
Several types of ball mills exist. They differ to an extent in their operating principle. They also differ in their maximum capacity of the milling vessel, ranging from 0.010 liters for planetary ball mills, mixer mills, or vibration ball mills to several 100 liters for horizontal rolling ball mills.
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