Interpreting low energy attrition behaviour in a pilot mill using numerical modelling


M. Powell, M. Yahyaei, N. Weerasekara


Gecamin Digital Publications


IMPC 2014 - 27th International Mineral Processing Congress



The conditions under which rocks become superficially damaged during the grinding process are not well understood. The main purpose of the work presented here is to understand how superficial breakage occurs under incremental low-energy impacts. To enable this study a series of abrasion tests with multi-size pilot mills have been performed. Outcomes of numerical simulation corresponding to each test were examined to investigate the experimental results. Abrasion tests have been conducted using three grinding mill sizes (i.e. 1.8, 1.2, and 0.8 m). Two types of ore were used to investigate different hardness strengths. To ensure abrasion was the dominant mechanism, in all tests the mill speed was reduced to 40% of critical speed. The relationship between the Fractional mass loss rate and particle size was investigated by randomly collecting seven tracer particles from sizes -73+63, -53+45, and -37.5+31.5 mm. It was evident from the results that the Fractional mass loss rate of angular particles declines as the particle size increases whereas the Fractional mass loss rate decreases from fine to coarse in rounded particles. Results of Discrete Element Method (DEM) simulations indicate that fine particles experience higher levels of collision energy per particle and this value reduces as the particle size increases and mill size reduces. This explains the higher Fractional mass loss rate of smaller particles as well as the increase in the Fractional mass loss rate as the mill size increases. Linked DEM and experimental data indicates that under these test conditions surface damage attrition is the dominant mechanism. This work suggests that DEM simulation can be implemented to predict the abrasion wear of particles in mills.


breakage, Fractional mass loss, numerical simulation

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