In Grinding, selecting (calculate)the correct or optimum ball sizethat allows for the best and optimum/ideal or target grind size to be achieved by your ball mill is an important thing for a Mineral Processing Engineer AKA Metallurgist to do. Often, the ball used in ball mills is oversize just in case. Well, this safety factor can cost you much in recovery and/or mill liner wear and tear.

The basic parameters used in ball mill design (power calculations), rod mill or anytumbling millsizing are; material to be ground, characteristics, Bond Work Index, bulk density, specific density, desired mill tonnage capacity DTPH, operating % solids or pulp density, feed size as F80 and maximum chunk size, productsize as P80 and maximum and finally the type of circuit open/closed you are designing for.

In extracting fromNordberg Process Machinery Reference ManualI will also provide 2 Ball Mill Sizing (Design) example done by-hand from tables and charts. Today, much of this mill designing is done by computers, power models and others. These are a good back-to-basics exercises for those wanting to understand what is behind or inside the machines.

W = power consumption expressed in kWh/short to (HPhr/short ton = 1.34 kWh/short ton) Wi = work index, which is a factor relative to the kwh/short ton required to reduce a given material from theoretically infinite size to 80% passing 100 microns P = size in microns of the screen opening which 80% of the product will pass F = size in microns of the screen opening which 80% of the feed will pass

Open circuit grinding to a given surface area requires no more power than closed circuit grinding to the same surface area provided there is no objection to the natural top-size. If top-size must be limited in open circuit, power requirements rise drastically as allowable top-size is reduced and particle size distribution tends toward the finer sizes.

A wet grinding ball mill in closed circuit is to be fed 100 TPH of a material with a work index of 15 and a size distribution of 80% passing inch (6350 microns). The required product size distribution is to be 80% passing 100 mesh (149 microns). In order to determine the power requirement, the steps are as follows:

The ball mill motorpower requirement calculated above as 1400 HP is the power that must be applied at the mill drive in order to grind the tonnage of feed from one size distribution. The following shows how the size or select thematching mill required to draw this power is calculated from known tables the old fashion way.

The value of the angle a varies with the type of discharge, percent of critical speed, and grinding condition. In order to use the preceding equation, it is necessary to have considerable data on existing installations. Therefore, this approach has been simplified as follows:

A = factor for diameter inside shell lining B = factor which includes effect of % loading and mill type C = factor for speed of mill L = length in feet of grinding chamber measured between head liners at shell- to-head junction

Many grinding mill manufacturers specify diameter inside the liners whereas othersare specified per inside shell diameter. (Subtract 6 to obtain diameter inside liners.) Likewise, a similar confusion surrounds the length of a mill. Therefore, when comparing the size of a mill between competitive manufacturers, one should be aware that mill manufacturers do not observe a size convention.

In Example No.1 it was determined that a 1400 HP wet grinding ball mill was required to grind 100 TPH of material with a Bond Work Index of 15 (guess what mineral type it is) from 80% passing inch to 80% passing 100 mesh in closed circuit. What is the size of an overflow discharge ball mill for this application?

A) Total Apparent Volumetric Charge Filling including balls and excess slurry on top of the ball charge, plus the interstitial voids in between the balls expressed as a percentage of the net internal mill volume (inside liners).

B) Overflow Discharge Mills operating at low ball fillings slurry may accumulate on top of the ball charge; causing, the Total Charge Filling Level to be higher than the Ball Filling Level. Grate Discharge mills will not face this issue.

C) This value represents the Volumetric Fractional Filling of the Voids in between the balls by the retained slurry in the mill charge. As defined, this value should never exceed 100%, but in some cases particularly in Grate Discharge Mills it could be lower than 100%. Note that this interstitial slurry does not include the overfilling slurry derived from the difference between the Charge and Ball Filling.

D) Represents the so-called Dynamic Angle of Repose (or Lift Angle) adopted during steady operation by the top surface of the mill charge (the kidney) with respect to the horizontal. A reasonable default value for this angle is 32, but may be easily tuned to specific applications against any available actual power data.

The effect of change of feed size, or of return of a classified fraction, is obtained by direct experiment. This is a more time-consuming method, and its success still depends on the consistency of scale-up factors, but it is inherently a more informative test and will be the method considered here. Such tests usually try to obtain a close duplication of conditions in the test mill to those in the production mill, in everything except mill size. It is advantageous to use as large a mill diameter as feasible considering the expense of the test system and handling the larger quantities of material involved for a larger mill. If the feed under investigation contains large material, a direct duplication test requires a big enough mill diameter to handle the particle and ball sizes involved.

The sizing of ball mills and ball milling circuits from laboratory grinding tests is largely a question of applying empirical equations or factors based on accumulated experience. Different manufacturers use different methods, and it is difficult to check the validity of the sizing estimates when estimates from different sources are widely divergent. It is especially difficult to teach mill sizing and circuit design to engineering students because of the apparent lack of a logical engineering foundation for the empirical equations. It is the purpose of this communication to demonstrate this logical foundation and to show the inter-relations between treatments using the concepts of specific rate-of-breakage/breakage distribution parameters and the more empirical methods.

A) Total Apparent Volumetric Charge Filling including balls and excess slurry on top of the ball charge, plus the interstitial voids in between the balls expressed as a percentage of the net internal mill volume (inside liners).

B) Overflow Discharge Mills operating at low ball fillings slurry may accumulate on top of the ball charge; causing, the Total Charge Filling Level to be higher than the Ball Filling Level. Grate Discharge mills will not face this issue.

C) This value represents the Volumetric Fractional Filling of the Voids in between the balls by the retained slurry in the mill charge. As defined, this value should never exceed 100%, but in some cases particularly in Grate Discharge Mills it could be lower than 100%. Note that this interstitial slurry does not include the overfilling slurry derived from the difference between the Charge and Ball Mill Filling.

D) Represents the so-called Dynamic Angle of Repose (or Lift Angle) adopted during steady operation by the top surface of the mill charge (the kidney) with respect to the horizontal. A reasonable default value for this angle is 32, but may be easily tuned to specific applications against any available actual power data.

The optimum composition of the make-up ball sizes in ball mills is presented.The effect of various factors was investigated via a grinding circuit simulation.Binary mixtures of two ball sizes always perform better than other mixtures.An equation is proposed for calculating the optimum composition of the make-up balls.

A grinding circuit simulation combined with ball weal law was used to determine the optimum composition of the make-up ball sizes in tumbling ball mills. It was found that the optimum composition depends on various factors, including the feed size, the product size, the mill diameter and the breakage parameters. In all cases, binary mixtures of two ball sizes (50.8mm and 25.4mm) performed better than a mixture of the three ball sizes. An equation therefore could be developed for calculating the optimum composition of the make-up balls as a function of various parameters.

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