. Powder Technology. 28 (1981) 253 - 260 0 Elsevier Sequoia S A.

, Lausanne -Printed
_ in The Netherlands 253

_-

Flow

of Particdate

Soli& Through

TumbIing Milk

S- H R. SWAROOP,
Department

A-Z.

M_ ABOUZEIDf

and D. W. FUEFISTENAU
Engineering,

of Materials Science and hfineml May 7.1980;

UniwrsiLy

of California. Berkeley.

CA

94720

(US

A.)

(Reteived

in revised form October

8.1980)

SUMMARY The fmnsport behavior of particulate solids flowing through tumbling milk depends

strongly on the mill opemtingconditions. This paper presents the results of a detailed study
to delineate the effect of the important operating mriables on the hold-up, mean residence time and residence time distribution of particulate solids flowing through ball milts and rod mills_ The effectsof feed mte. media load, and mill speed on these transport parameters are d&c-d, emphasizing the fundamental differences between particulate transport in ball millsand rod milts. Under identrcal dimensionles operating conditions ouer the range of the
inuestigation, the mater&z1 hold-up and the

Peclet number of the flow regime in the rod mill were always higher than those in the ball mill. Mechanisttc interpretations of the observed transportphenomenaarepresented, and their implica Cons in the con tert of turn bling mill analysis and design pointed out
INTRODUCTION

The processing of granular materials often involves the transport of particulates through rotating cylinders. In developing mathematical models for the design and control of continuous particulate processing systems. information about particulate transport through the device is almost invariably required. Tumbling mills are a typical example of systems that involve transport of matenaI as a sub-process in their operation. In the recent past, the need to explicitly account for the important sub-processes in
*Presently Associate Professor, Cairo University, Faculty of Engmeering, Dept. of Mining. Giza, Egypt.

continuous grinding systems has been well appreciated, and the material transport subprocess in ball mills has been analyzed to some extent. Kelsall [l] and Kelsall et al [2 41 studied the effect of operating conditions on the solids transport m a continuous wet overflow ball mill. In their work, the tracer step and impulse response techniques were employed to obtain the expenmental data which were analyzed in the context of the ideal mixer with delay model. They found that the hold-up of solids in the mill increases with increasing feed rate, ball diameter, and ball load; while the mean residence time decreases with increasing feed rate, ball diameter and increases with ball load. They also concluded that transport behavior in the mill approaches that of a perfect mixer W-X-I increasing holdup of material in the mill. Mori 151, who studied the residence time distribution of dry solid materials flowing through a ball mill, observed that the dispersion coefficient of solids per unit revolution of the mill is constant independent of feed rate and/or mill rotational speed. He also found that the holdup of material in the mill is proportional to the square root of the feed rate to the drum, i.e., the mean residence time is inversely proportional to the square root of the feed rate. The effect of feed rate, ball load and discharge opening diameter on the material holdup and residence time distribution in opencircuit ball mills has been investigated by Keienberg et al. [S] and Mori et al. [7] _ Karra and Fuerstenau Cl53 investigated the effect of discharge opening design on material flow through a rotary drum and found that the residence time distribution tended towards plug flow at an intermediate discharge opening. Abouzeid and Fuerstenau [S] studied the

APPARATUS AND EXPERIMENTAL -The feeder/sampler set-up for this research has been described in another publication [ll] _ The mill used was a s&&zless steel cylinder 43. and the discharge was sampled at regular intervals to obtain the residence time distribution from the response to the tzacer impulse. and axial dispersion coefficient. while investigating the effect of mill speed on material trausport through the rod mill. Although there have been a reasonable numbzr of studies of material transport through _ laboratoryscale ball mills. At this point a tracer impulse was introduced at the inlet of the mill. their results are not &equate for describing the &msport. However. with eight internal longitudinal lifters of 0. D.9 cm diameter. In all cases. and varied in a complicated manner with drum speed. in the rest of this paper_ The material was fed to the mill under specified conditions until steady-state operatidn was obtained. On the basis of a few experiments in a laboratory wet rod mill. [7] and Keienberg et aL [S] proposed using the lognormal distribution function to represent the residence time distribution in ball mills. These will be referred to variously as the grinding media. Lucite balls of density 1. Material transport characteristicsofrodmiUswilIbestressedheresincea relative wealth of information on transport through ball mills exists. However. and decreased nonlinearly with feed rate. Since the mill was operated in an open-end configuration. the mill was stopped and the material hold-up was measure d. in creased nonlinearly with drum speed. or simply the media. there is no segregation in a particulate system with components of widely differing physical properties_ Hogg et ul. 20 X 28 mesh dolomite was used as the feed material. They also found that the variance of the residence time distribution increased lincazly with balI load to a limiting value where it became independent of bzll load. Detailed investigations concemin g hold-up. Mori ef al. were obtained from the &mensionless vanance of tie tracer response at the mill emt in the context of the axial dispersion model for a closed-clod system. the bulk material used was 14 X 20 mesh dolomite. Heyes ef al. It presentr the results of a detailed study to delineate the effect of operating variables on the hold-up. both of 1.7 cm in internal diameter. a 2. mean residence time. and residence time distribution of particulate solids flowing through these systems. this difference in particle size has no effect on the transport behavior of particulate solids through the miU_ The material hold-up distribution along the mill was measured by replacing the upper half of the mill by a sampler and slowly rotating the mill 180 degrees around its axis. Their predictions were successful at low feed rates of material to the mill.characterisGcs of solids flowing through a rod mill.254 effect of mixing aids (Lucite balls of density l-25 g/cm3) on the transport behavior of particulate solids in a constricted-end drum_ They found that the material hold-up in the mill increased linparlv with increasing feed rate. mean residence time. were used to simulate the grinding media without any appreciable grinding action. 191 fitted a semiempirical model and predicted the hold-up of material in a laboratory ballmill. decreased with increasin gballloadtoa _ _ muumum value where it became independent of ball load.25 g/cm3 and hollow lucite rods. except for a wire grid to prevent balls or rods from falling out of the milI. The material hold-up was thus split into six equidistant samples along the mill axis. very little has been done to investigate the transport of par&ulates through rod mills. a portion of which was colored with a dye so that it could be used as the tracer.8 cm long and 12.5 cm opening permitted introduction of feed t0 the mill. Based on 0uT earlier studies [ll] . The Peclet number.ilIs is emphasized. Pe. Deta& of the method of calculations are discuYed elsewhere [ll]_ . including both ball mills and rod mills. An important conclusion of their work is that in the przseace of balls as mixing aids.3 cm height. [lo] concluded that the contents of a rod mill are extremely well mixed in a manner similar to the contents of a small ball mill under conditions of high hold-up. When all the tracer had discharged from the mill. and residence time distribution are required for any successful modeling of this type of tumbling milI systems_ This paper deals speci&aIly with material transport through tumbling mill systems. At the feed end of the mill. the discharge end was completeIy open. Comparison between material flow through ball miUs and rod m.

1. of hold-up on media load in the . it can be seen horn Fig. Dependence ball and rod mills. the hold-up in the mill increases linearly. 2 that there is a higher build-up of material at the inlet end of the ball mill and this is responsible for a lower limiting feed rate (the feed rate at which material builds up sufficiently at the inlet end and causes a backflow) observed in the ball mill. l)_ In the ball mill.255 RESULTS Hold-up Effect of feed rate on hold-up As the feed rate of material increases. it is not possible to rigorously explain the difference 111hold-up between the two systems. the maximum feed rate to the ball mill is much less than that for the rod mill. Effect of load of grinding medi4 on hold-up The hold-up of material in the mill increases as the media load (balls or rods) increases at the same feed rate. Figure 2 shows the hold-up dislzibution in both rod and ball mills. It can be seen that the hold-up distribution along the mill is nonlinear and that the hold-up proi5les in the two systems have different shapes. one can see from the results plotted in Fig. In addition. 3 that the hold-up in the ball mill is lower than the I I I I I Fig. In the absence of a reasonably good linear hold-up profile iu both the systems. 3. The increase in hold-up with increasing feed rate probably results from the resistance offered by the grinding media (balls or rods) to the flow of particles through the milks. Further results on Fig. an increase in feed rate to the system requires a higher head for material to push itself through the grinding media to reach the discharge end [ 81. Dependenrz mill and rod mill of hold-up OP feed rate to the ball Fig. As a result. The reason for the lower hold-up in the ball mill compared with that m the rod mill under identical dimensionless conditions appears to be due to the difference in the hold-up distribution in the mills. Axial hold-up pro?iiles in the ball mill and rod mill under identical dimensionless operating conditions the effect of media on the hold-up distribution along the mill are needed in order to explain the lower hold-up in ball mills compared with rod mills operated under identical chmensionless conditions However. This is true for both rod and ball mills (see Fig. 2. the hold-up is generally lower than that in the rod mill at corresponding feed rates As is clear from Fig_ 1.

namely the Peclet number. the material hold-up is an increasing function of mill speed in the operating range of mill speeds. a smaller driving head is required to push material through the mill. (This has been ilk&rated in the hold-up distribution in both balI milk and rod miIls in Fig_ 2. while the Peclet number characterizes the extent of &persion. As can be seen from the results given in this figure. This. The Peclet number mcreases and the dispersion coefficient decreases with increasing feed rate for both the mills. in turn. an increa~& interaction between the flowing material and the media ensues. under a fixed media load and mrlI speed. passing through a minimum at the intermediate speeds. which is a m easure of extent . 4_ Dependence ofhold-up intheballmillandrodmill.f dispersion_ Low Peclet numbers indicate a high degree of dispersion and uice-versa. the intensity of (axial) dispersion is represented by the (axial) dispersion coefficient of material flowing through the gnren system_ Thus. each of these phenomena must be evaluated through the appropriate parameter_ The independent variables whose effects were investigated in this aspect were the feed rate of material to the mill. resulting in a higherresistance to material transport. Effect of mill speed on material hold-up Figure 4 shows the material hold-up as a function OF mill speed for both rod and ball mills. It is important to recognize that. Residence time distribution (RTD) The characteristics of the residence time distribution can be expressed through a single parameter. The hold-up is hil:h at low mill speeds because of the high friction to the flow of material as a result of the presence of a thin shear zone [ 131) and is high at high mill speeds because the flowing material cataracts and occupies more volume in the mill [ 141. As the media load increases. a large frac- Fig.) The trend of the hold-up as a function of mill speed is quite similar to the corresponding variation in hold-up with drum speed in rotary drums without any mixmg aids [ 12]_ The hold-up is larger at both low and high m!ll speeds. is perhaps related to the differences in the axial hold-up profiles in the two systems. on miU rotational speed . In both ball and rod mills. media load. This behavior for both the mills may be explained by recognizing that. As a result. Pe. the hold-up in the baII mrll at all speeds is lower than the corresponding holdup in the rod mill under similar operating conditions_ This. This implies that the material in the miIl does not completely fill all the voids between the tumbling media. again. the details of which have been discussed elsewhere [S] _ The reason that the hold-up at any media load is higher in the case of the rod mill is probably related to the differences in the hold-up distribution in the two systems. as already discussed in the foregoing section. resulting in a lower hold-up at low media loads.256 corresponding hold-up in the rod mdI at all media loads_ The continuous increase in holdup with media load may be atibuted to the increased resistance to material flow as the media load is increased_ At lower levels of media load. and mrll speed_ Effect of material feed rate on RTD Figures 5 and 6 show the Peclet number and the dispersion coefficient of the material flowing through the rod mrlI and the ball mill as a function of material feed rate. requires a higher material head for the material to discharge at the same rate. most of the shear zone wdl be ti of the media and the material d experience a relatively smaIl resistance in moving towards the discharge end_ Hence. in the context of the axial dispersion model. resulting in a higher material hold-up_ In contrast. at low feed rates to the milI the level of the material surfacein themill is low (see the section on holdup). material hold-up decreases with increasingmediaload in a constrict&end mill.

7. and because the material motion is restricted. the hold-up of material in the mill increases. From Figs. 5 and 6.8 Variation of Peclet number with media load in the ball mill and rod mill. L of media had on RTD The results of this series of experiments are presented in Fig. which shows the relation between the dispersion coefficient in both the ball and rod mills as a function of media load expressed as a percent of the mill volume. a low dispersion coefficient results. resulting in a relativeIy highly dispersed mill discharge. As already indiEffec Fig.257 would be correspondingly smaller. filling almost all the voids between the media. Dependence of Peclet number on feed rate to the rod 4 and ball mill_ c Fig_ 6_ Dependence of ax&l dispersion coefficient on feed rate to both the rod 1. whereas in a rod rnti the motion of rods is restricted in the axial direction. the variation of the dlspersion coefficient and Peclet number with media load in the two mills chsplay completely opposite trends. At higher feed rates. . and hence their effect on the axial dispersion of material Fig. and Fig. 8.41and ball mill. The implications of this signScant difference in the material transport characteristics between dry rod and ball mills over the entire range of admissible feed rates cannot be overemphasized. Clearly. 5. it can be seen that the values of the axial dispersion coefficient and the Peclet number are about six times higher in the case of the rod mill than in the case of the ball mill under similar conditions. This appears to be due to the axial ‘shoveling action of material by the relatively unconstrained motion of balls in a ball mill. tion of the flowing material interacts with an ‘excess’ of tumbling media. which shows the corresponchng variation in Pe. This can ‘be explained in terms of the possible nature of particle-media interactions in the two systems.

11 and 12. the relationship between Pe and D is not necessarily a one-to-one inverse relationship because of the possible simultaneous variation of T_ This is clearly demonstrated in Fig_ 9 where the Peclet number and the dispersion coef5cient are plotted as a function of media load in the rod mill. For a mill of given length. the addition of balls to a ball mill increases the dwpersion coefficient (Fig. the addition of a few rods to the system creates channels of flow between the rods where particleparticle and particlerod interactions tend to become &&ad. 7) and decreases Pe (Fig. the decrease in D is compensated by an identical increase in r. The Peclet numb-. At this stage. the axial dispersion of particles re8ected off the media surface would be much greater in the case of balls. and D is the axial dispersion coefficient. T is the mean residence time. relative to a mill with no tumbling media. D.uisanaverage particulate convective velocity in cm/set. the Peclet number increases with rod load only up to a certain point beyond wluch it remains nearly constant. but rather tend to interfere with the dispersing action of the other balls in the system. the channels for flow through the mill (that is the flow channels between the rods) hecome smaller and the &&ion of material flowing in these restricted sections increases. 10. while the dispersion coefEcient decreases continuously with increasing rod load. 8) initially. In turn. Pe. In both mills. Balls ad&d to the mill beyond this level probably do not participate very much in particle/ball interaction. it might be appropriate to elaborate on the relationship between the Peclet number and the axial dispersion coefficient and its implications in the context of the results and discussion presented in this paper.theaxialco . respectively. end the axial dispersion coef&ient. on the average. In this context. 8). are free to move axially in a random fashion and increasing the ball load should then result in increased stirring and axial shoveling of particles back and forth. In the higher range of mill speeds. and. the onset of cateracting of the media and the material in the empty space of the mill (as m in the section . the constancy of the Peclet number in this range of ball loads results from the compensating influences of D and T (Pig. This. In addition. we may usually only explain these effects on the intensity of dispersion (as characterixed by D) rather than the extent of dispersion in the mill discharge (as characterized by Pe). The lower dispersion coefficient at low mill speeds may be due to the fewer number of particle- particle and particl~media collisions per unit time under these conditions. is responsible for the decrease in the dispersion coefficient observed beyond about 40% ball load_ Once again. it is felt.t onthe~~otionof rods considerabIy limits their ability to disperse the material in the axial direction and this may be the reason the PecIet number is generally high in the presence of rods. With an increased addition of rods to the mill. the dispersion coefficient is low in both the lower and higher range of mill speeds but is bigber in between. . Effect of mill speed on RTD The effect of mill rotational speed on the axial dispersion coefficient and Peclet number for materiel flow in ball and rod mills is presented in Figs. resulting in a constant Pe with increasing rod load. unlike rods. It is our contention that this relatively simple point is easily overlooked and that in a discussion of the effect of process variables on mixing in tumbling mill systems from a physical standpoint. The increase in dispersion coefficient with increasing ball load continues until the particulate bed is almost fully impregnated with balls (at about 40% ball load). In contrast to the effect of media load on dispersion in a rod mill. the (axial) dispersion of particles with a finite axial component of motion is reduced.258 cated. This is because balls. the trajectories of dispersed particles are shortened. tbis implies that the axial dispersion coefficient decreases with increasing rod load. The effect of process variables on Pe is inevitably coupled with the corresponding effects on the mean residence time in the mill. Thus. in cm2/sec are related to each other in the form whereListhe~lenghincm. as shown schematically in Fig. leading to an increase in the dispersion coefficient Furthermore. In the region of constant Pe.

in the few instances in the past. in the operatiug range of mill speeds. of particle-rod and on hold-up. again resultin~in a decrease in the dispersion coefficient. Dependence of arial disperuion coefficient miIl rok&ianal speed in the ball mill and rod mill- on . Beyond this speed. indicating that D X r in the ball mill is nearly constant. Fig_ 9. mean residence time and residence time distribution of particulate solids flowing through tumbling miU systems are presented and compared_ Particulate trsnsport through rod mills has. la. schematic representation particle-hall interactions. the results a detailed study of to delineate the effect of operating variables on the hold-up. resulting in a higher Pe at high mill speeds. It appears that rod mills operate with Fig. been assumed to be similar to that through ball mills. The present study has brought out the fundamental differences that exist between particulate flow through these systems. IX . 10. Thus. where this phenomenon is reflected in higher hold-up) leads to a reduced frequency of particle-particle and particlemedia interactions. In the case of the ball mill.259 -0 I I ID I I I I 50 zo FLOD LOaD PERCEaT=:F YU “it”“. 11. Variation of PecIet number and axial dispersion coefficient with rod load with mill roa- --LU*l_ DILCTIOm-caLL PaRTInE INTERI- Fig. Variation of Peclet number tional speed in the ball and rod mill. This 1s in contrast to the corresponding variation in Pe in the rod mill where D X T is decreasing. Pe remains nearly constant. the Peclet number is almost constant in a ball mill whereas it increases with mill speed in a rod mill. Fig. Pe decreases from 11 to 7 as mill speed is increased from 25 to 50% of the critical speed (Fig. 12. CONCLUSION In this paper. 12).

25(1980)21_ R_ Hogg. PJx_D_ Digs_. D. but it is clear from the present investigation that material transport in these mills is perhaps an equally important factor. Berkeley1973_ V. the material hold-up and Peclet number of the flowregimeint. 12 13 14 15 A -Z. Proc_ AIME. A. K_ Karra and D. The narrow size distribution observed in industrial rod mill products has generally been related to the breakage kinetics in these mills.7Q% of mill critical speed for ball mills). Int_ Conf_ on Pm-ticuLote Technolo-proc.mind if it is dedred to change the operating speed of a tumbling mill. Jimba and M Yamasaki. I6 (1977) 23. Kelsall and P. 1973. and that one may not. but at rotational speeds above or below this range the hold-up increases sharply. in the operating range of mill speeds. Powder TechnoL. PowderTechnoL. 11 A-Z_ M. R. too. M. over ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The authors wish to acknowledge the support of this research by the National Science Foundation and the US_ Bureau of Mines_ REFERENCES 1 D_ F_ K&all.herodmiJlarebigherthanthe corresponding values in the ball mill under identical dimensionless operating conditions_ The importance of the material hold-up m dete _ . J_ Restarick. K_ J_ Reid and C_ J. S. K J_ Reid and C. Increase in media load was found to lead to an increase in material hoId-up.gthe breakage kineticsin a grinding mill is well established. Fuerstenau. (1964) 3X 2 D_ F_ Kelszdl. Abouzeid Powder TechnoL.V_ Sash-y and Powder Technol.Weller. media load and mill speed_ In both ball and rod mills. 23 (1979) 261. 1969. it increased with increasing rod chargeThis seemingly paradoxical phenomenon can be explained on the bzuis of a postulated mechanism of particlemedia interaction in the two systems_ The variation of material hoid-up with mrll speed in both ball and rod mills was found to be quite complex. Tkurw. Stewart and K. Hogg. IO (19741 and D.Theseresultsare significant in the context of scaling-up the feed rate to a tumbling mill. W_ Fuerstenau. of California. B. 6 R_ R_ Keienbeg. --“<. VII LWPC. R Shoji and L_ G_ Austin. the hold-up is approximately constant. the material hold-up is an increasing linear function of the feed rate to the mill_ However. whereas it in creaseswithmillspeedinarod -mill: This important result must be kept in . while zt decreases with increasing feedratet. Abouzeid.otherodmill.-Z_ Id_ Abouzeid. Powder Technol . AlME 258 (1975) 194_ 10 G. Everything else being eq4 a higher Peclet number for material transport implies a narrower size distribution in the mill discharge. S B. Thus. W Heyes. G. beyond which it remains nearly constant. Mika. The Feclet number of the flow regime in rod mills follows a trend similar to the variation in hoId-up with mill speed. 3 (1969/70) 170_ 4 D_ F_ Kelsall. 69 (1972) 699. p_ 218. whereas that for flow tbrougb ball mills decreases continuously with in creasingmillspeedupto about 50% of the critical speed. 9 R. F.60% of mill critical speed for rod mills and 50 . Abouzeid and D. Univ. PhD. For instance_ the variation of the mean residence time with feed rate to a rod mill makes the me-up of feed rate in this case more complia3ted. Rentarick.. Eugaku 7 Y_ Mori. Powder a A_-Z TechnoL. K. although they exhibit similar trends in a broad sense_ Over a range of miB speeds (about 40 . due to the increased resistance to material flow in both systems_ The effects of media load on the Peclet number in ball and rod mills are very interesting and not intuitively anticipated. 7 (1973) 293_ 5 Y_ b&xi.a very useful general result is that the entire range of investigation. W_ Fuetienau. Stewart.2 (1968/69)162_ 3 D_ F_ Kelsall. in general_ assume material flow through these systems to be similar. 7 (1973) 319. P.260 considerably different material transport characteristics compared wi+h ball mills under conditions. . T_ S. the Peclet number is almost constant in a ball mill. Dechemo Monogmph. Powder Technor?_. of California. D_ W_ Fuerstenau. H m YOP Seebach and F_ Strauss. Kogakk 2 (1964) 173_ M. Univ. The operating variables investigated include the feed rate to the mill.. 273. in hall mills the mean residence time for material taansport is nearly constant with change in the feed rate to the mill. W. Dis . Bskeley. Powder TechnoL. Finally. While the Peclet number decreased with increasing ball charge due to an increased mixing action.

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