The Cement Grinding Office

Grinding technology of limestone with ball mills
(Marc Piccinin)

Table of contents 1. The limestone 2. Different applications of the limestone powder 3. Different types of grinding 4. Different types of mills and circuits 5. Mill internals 6. Ball charge 7. Ventilation 8. Heat balance 9. Drying

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Different applications of the limestone powder: The main applications to grind limestone are: .In Open circuit: * the finished product is the mill discharge product * to adopt mill L/D = Page 2 .thecementgrindingoffice.For chemical industry. The limestone: Calcium carbonate .choice of alloy (balls and linings) * hardness . agriculture… => fine grinding (less than 1% residue on 90m) . At this point.The Cement Grinding Office 1.5-4 in order to have a longer retention time of the material inside the mill . www. Fe2O3… Importance of SiO2 content (free silica) for: * wear rate .For cement industry (to produce clinker) => coarse grinding (10-20% residue on 90m) 3. Wet process: .The advantages are: * lower specific energy * simplicity of installation .In closed circuit: * with hydrocyclones Dry process: Generally adopted all over the world. cosmetics. Al2O3. Different types of grinding: The 2 types of grinding are: wet and dry process. we only will develop dry process circuits.ball charge gradation 2. pharmaceutical industry.CaCO3 Limestone can be: * rich: 90-100 of CaCO3 * poor Other elements: SiO2 (quartz).

Classical ball mill circuit: See typical flow-sheet herebelow. Different types of mills and circcuits: 4.Moisture of fresh feed: maximum 1%H2O This is the circuit to grind fine product. 2nd or 3rd generation .Ball mill with 2 compartments .Dynamic separator of Page 3 .thecementgrindingoffice.Granulometry of fresh feed: normally 35-40mm .Closed circuit with bucket elevator .L/D = 3 .The Cement Grinding Office 4.1.Filter (Bag or EP) . Main characteristics: . www.

com Page 4 .Ball mill with 1 or 2 compartments * 1 compartment = 1 grinding chamber * 2 compartments = 1 drying and 1 grinding chamber . Air-swept mill circuit: See the flow-sheet herebelow.2.Static separator and cyclones for cleaning . Main characteristics: .The Cement Grinding Office 4.Granulometry of fresh feed: 5%R30mm (residue between 30 and 40mm) .L/D = 2-2.Filter (mainly the kiln filter which is an EP filter) .Closed circuit with pneumatic system .thecementgrindingoffice.5 (short mill) .Power requirements for pneumatic conveying: 4-6 kWh/t This is one of the circuits used in the cement plants to grind the raw material . www.Moisture of fresh feed: maximum 8%H2O with gas kiln at 350°C (15% if additional heater-temperature 600°C) Without drying chamber: 4-6%H2O .

The Cement Grinding Office This circuit is recommended in case of big moisture content and for a fineness of the product around 20%R90m.Peripheral discharge (2 feeds) .thecementgrindingoffice.With bucket elevator . Birotator circuit: See the flow-sheet herebelow.Closed circuit with static separator for gas and dynamic separator for material .Granulometry of fresh feed: maximum 50 to 80mm .3.L/D = more than 3 .Filter (mainly the kiln filter which is an EP filter) .com Page 5 . 4.Ball mill with 3 compartments: 1 drying and 2 grinding . Main characteristics: .Moisture of fresh feed: maximum 7%H2O with gas kiln at 350°C (15% if additional heater) www.

5 .Moisture of fresh feed: maximum 5%H2O with gas kiln at 350°C (10% if additional heater) Page 6 . Main characteristics: .Granulometry of fresh feed: up to 80mm at the crusher .Pneumatic conveying system .4.thecementgrindingoffice.Static separator for mill and crusher .L/D = 2-2.Ball mill with 1 grinding compartment .Granulometry of the mill feed: 10-12mm is an optimum .Drying in the crusher and in the mill . Tandem circuit: See the flow-sheet herebelow.Filter (mainly the kiln filter which is an EP filter) .The Cement Grinding Office 4.

Main characteristics: .thecementgrindingoffice. 3-4%H2O with 350°C and 6-8%H2O with 600°C .com Page 7 .high pressure drop) www.Granulometry of fresh feed: normally 30mm if drying chamber and 50mm if there are 2 grinding compartments .It is difficult to have 3 compartments (passage of gas .5. Compound mill circuit: See the flow-sheet herebelow.Dynamic separator of 1st. 2nd or 3rd generation .The Cement Grinding Office 4.Moisture of fresh feed: maximum 2%H2O with 350°C without drying compartment With drying compartment.Ball mill with 2 grinding compartments or 1 drying and 1 grinding .Closed circuit with bucket elevator .Filter (mainly the EP kiln filter) .L/D = 3 .

thecementgrindingoffice. Lining: The lining is a lifting effect lining. 60mm. the lenght is the third of the total usefull lenght. The shape can be different according: * the granulometry of the limestone * the hardness of the limestone * the ball charge * the length * the speed of rotation Ball charge: The ball charge is depending of: * the granulometry of the limestone * the hardness of the limestone * the lining Generally. 70mm. we got the following diagram: Page 8 . First compartment: The first compartment is to prepare the material before to go in the second chamber. the first chamber is empty of material. 5. The target is to have at the end of the chamber: maximum 5% residue on 2. Intermediate diaphragm: Very often. Compound mill: This kind of mill has normally 2 compartments.1. By laboratory trials and industrial tests.1. especially near the diaphragm.5mm. 80mm.The Cement Grinding Office 5. But it can be different due to the granulometry of the fresh feed. Mill internals: 5.1. The coumpound mill is generally used to grind cement and pure limestone in some cement plants. the ball charge is a gradation of balls diameter: 90mm. Generally.

www. it is better to limit the smallest dimension at 20mm because problems of coating (see hereafter). 40mm. 5.2. It means an attrition work in order to produce fineness. slots than 8mm must be forecast. Second compartment: The second chamber is the finishing chamber. finer is the ball. Concerning the limestone. Lining and ball charge: For that reason. Laboratory trials were realized in the past and the conclusion is that it is better to classify the balls by dimension. The ball charge will consist in a gradation of balls: 60mm. But it is inacceptable to put these balls in an industrial ball mill because the retention time of the material would be excessive. 25mm and 20mm diameter. the lining is a classifying lining. Also. it means that the material must be at the level of the balls (to fill the voids which represent 42%). balls of 10mm diameter are the best.1. Then balls of 15mm minimum are used in the cement mills in open circuit.The Cement Grinding Office This diagram shows that the optimum of efficiency is reached when the ratio weight of material/weight of balls is around 18%. The slots of the grate plates must have 6mm width if the moisture content of the limestone is lower than Page 9 . The diaphragm must also be designed in order to allow the ventilation of the mill (big center). and the finest balls at the end of the chamber where the material is the finest. Practically. But a fine ball charge can only be used if the lining is classifying! According to these trials. 50mm. if this content is higher. 30mm. better is the efficiency. The biggest balls are at the beginning of the compartment where the material coming from the first chamber is coarser.thecementgrindingoffice. balls of 17mm or 20mm in closed circuit.

the ball charge are relatively coarse.40% of the length with a lifting lining .60% of the rest with a classifying lining . 5. it is interesting to add a retaining ring between both linings.The filling degree is often low in order to insure a large passage for the hot gas. the retention time of the material inside the mill is very short and the circulating load of the separator is high.3. compartment length Outlet diaphragm: The slots much be bigger than the ones of the intermediate peripheral discharge diaphragm. Limestone is prepared in order to produce the clinker in the kiln. 50 and 40mm are used to break the last big particles coming from the 1st chamber.2.The Cement Grinding Office 15% of balls 60. .The ball charge is composed of: 90-80-70-60-50-40-30mm diameter balls. There is not method to calculate the ball charge of a raw mill. The configuration is the following: . . The fineness requested is generally between 10 and 20%R90m and 1-2%R210m. temperature. The volume of the drying chamber depends of the output of the mill and the moisture of the limestone.From time to time. All is based on the experience. For that. For example. 6. . www. The proportion of the lengths are generally 40% for the coarse grinding chamber and 60% for the fine grinding chamber. It means that we don't need fineness (surface . Ball charge of the raw mills: For the producer. The rest of the ball charge depends of: * the fineness of the finished product * the kind of separator * other factors like: ventilation. the most important is to have a certain residue on 1 or 2 coarse grinding chamber with a lifting lining and a ball charge with 90-80-70-6050mm. drying chamber with lifters . The double rotator mill is composed of: . 15%R90m.Blaine) => no need to produce superfine particles. . Air-swept mill: This mill has only one grinding chamber with or without drying fine grinding chamber on the other side with a classifying lining and a ball charge of 50-40-30-25mm. Double rotator mill: This kind of mill is used in the raw mill section of a cement transfer diaphragm which allows important ventilation .com Page 10 .thecementgrindingoffice.

www. Cooling of the mill: A good cooling of the mill and the material inside the mill is necessary to maintain a proper working temperature. Ventilation: 7.thecementgrindingoffice. For the cement mills. The temperature of reference is the one of the material at the mill outlet.The Cement Grinding Office The total ball charge is normally between 300 gr/ball and 400gr/ball insure the cooling of the mill and the material .com Page 11 . If one goes higher. the ball charge optimisation depends directly of a mill survey. one can not exceed a temperature of 105-110°C according the type of circuit. we will probably observe a coating on the lining and the balls. a temperature lower of 100°C should be better. It is due to the superficial cohesion forces and the forces generated by the static electricity.2. 7. Introduction: The ventilation has 3 objectives: . A typical airswept mill coarse ball charge is the following: Ø 90mm 16% Ø 80mm 17% Ø 70mm 11% Ø 60mm 13% Ø 50mm 14% Ø 40mm 13% Ø 30mm 16% A typical double rotator mill fine ball charge will be the following: 1st chamber: Ø 80mm 20% Ø 70mm 13% Ø 60mm 8% Ø 50mm 8% 2nd chamber: Ø 50mm 11% Ø 40mm 19% Ø 30mm 21% Naturally.3. Problem of coating: The coating is an agglomeration of material on the lining and/or grinding dedust the mill . 7. For the remove the fine particles from the mill 7.

2 m/sec . 7.decrease as far as possible the pressure drop These velocities are: . it is calculated in terms of air velocity in the free section of the mill.mill inlet: 20-25 m/sec . Coating is an agent of efficiency loss which can be very important (up to 30%) because: . 7.Closed circuit: air speed = 1. Ventilation usual values: When we want to define the necessary ventilation in a grinding installation. Normally: 0.8 to 1.Open circuit: air speed = 0. i.mill outlet: 20-25 m/sec www. Dedusting of the mill: This function seems to be evident if we want to avoid the accumulation of dust in the whole system. 7. it is very important to respect some velocities in other parts of the mill in order to: .coating is also reducing the attrition's efficiency of the small balls which are not more in contact with the material.3 to 0.e: ventilation <=> air speed in m/sec The reference values which are generally admitted are divided in two cases and are the following: . But this method is less usual.5 m/sec Remark: we can also define the ventilation in term of Nm3/kg of finished product. the problem of coating can become crucial.intermediate and outlet diaphragm: 15-20 m/sec .The Cement Grinding Office As limestone has the particular propriety to produce a big amount of very fine particles (less than 2 microns) when grounded. .2 to Page 12 .7.45 Nm3/kg. Air speeds into the mill: Besides the basis figures given hereabove.thecementgrindingoffice.6.coating is disturbing the segregation of the ball charge in case of classifying lining.allow the passage of the required air .4.

This false air is coming from some badly adjusted airtightness or from deficient discharge devices. We evaluate the false air percentage in function of the type of mill and its Page 13 .5-10% compound mills with central drive: 15-20% birotator mills: 30-40% In bad condition.thecementgrindingoffice. overloads the fan or reduces the ventilation of the mill if the existing fan is too short.8m): 150-200mm WG large diameters (> 4m): 180-250mm WG 7. Calculation of the necessary ventilation: If: diameter = D in m volume load = J in % lining thickness = e in mm air speed = v in m/sec false air = f in % Q = quantity of air in m3/h will be easy to let the required air through the mill .the energetic consumption will decrease (kW of the fan) The standard pressure drops if the mill is well equiped are: small diameters (< 2. Mill's pressure drops: The less pressure drops are important and the more: . False air: The false air is an air entry at mill outlet (at the outlet hood or at the peripheral discharge for the birotator mills) which is added to the air really passing through the mill.8m): 120-160mm WG medium diameters (3 to 3. This supplementary air does not bring anything.The Cement Grinding Office 7.10. a birotator mill can have up to 60% false air! 7. These values are given in percentage of the mill's required air: compound mills with lateral drive(s): 7.8.

Total pressure drop = (mill + static + cyclone + dynamic + ducts + bag filter) pressure drops Then.thecementgrindingoffice. we need a fan of 55 000 m3/h. to see before . this heat can induce very high temperatures.ducts: ± 80 mmWG Example: For the mill here above. These temperatures will affect the grinding process.dynamic pressure: ± 20 mmWG .bag filter: ± 150 mmWG . equiped with a static separator.5 m/sec => Q = 51 107 m3/h (we will choose a fan of 55 000 m3/h) 7.cyclone: ± 80 mmWG . 200 + 100 + 80 + 20 + 80 + 150 = 630 mmWG available to the fan 8.The Cement Grinding Office we have: Example: D = 4. The following figures must be taken into consideration: . But the supplier needs also to know the pressure drops in the circuit to size the fan. we foresee: 200mm pressure drop for the mill.electroprecipitator: ± 40 mmWG .For the mill. As a consequence. a cyclone and a bag filter. there must be an equilibrium between what goes in and what goes out of the system. For all heat balances.2m e = 80mm j = 33% f = 10% we want v = 1.static separator: ± 100 mmWG . Heat balance: The biggest part of the energy introduced in a ball mill is converted into heat. Calculation of the fan: In the example hereabove. it is important to make the heat balance of the installation.11. www. Page 14 .

h of water to be efficient. Very often. Which length must have a drying chamber? According to industrial experiences. the efficiency of the mill drops drastically.The Cement Grinding Office Regardless to the characteristics and production data of the installation that we have to introduce. Example: .1.thecementgrindingoffice.Limestone moisture: 4% => quantity of water: 230 * 1000 * 4% = 9200 l/h => volume requested: 9200 / 225 = 40. The drying chamber: This chamber helps the drying of the material with the help of lifters.Mill output: 230 t/h . Problems of drying: In all the cement plants. the most important problem of the raw mill section is the drying of the limestone and the other components. it is possible to dry a maximum of 220-230 l/m3. This figure is generally accepted to size the drying Page 15 .water to inject 9. the drying is realized in the ball mill where there is or not a drying chamber. In consequence. the heat balance turns on 3 values: . it is always possible to recuperate the heat of the kiln and all the ball mills receive hot gas at 350°C. when the material has more than 1% moisture.Mill diameter: 4. it is very important to get the drying capacities to avoid that. 9.89 m3 www. It is also possible to dry in a separate dryer but the cost is higher. In the cement plants. An additional burner can be indispensable in some cases.amount of air .6 m . In dry process.temperature of the product at mill outlet . The material is lifted and after falls in the hot gas stream. Some theories say that the lost of efficiency is 10% every 1% moisture higher than 1%.

we can be limited in temperature. the quantity of gas must respect some limitations in term of gas velocity inside the mill.The Cement Grinding Office => length of the drying chamber: 40.46 m (with the transfer diaphragm) We will take a length of 2.Airswept mill: 6-9 m/sec Then.2.35 / (p * 4.Birotator mill: 3-4 m/sec . Temperature and quantity of gas: The drying effect is more efficient with a higher temperature than with a higher quantity of gas. the drying capacities must be a compromise between temperature and quantity of gas in order to run in good conditions of efficiency.Compound mill: 1.50 m as it is Page 16 . These limitations are: .62 / 4) = 2. 9.thecementgrindingoffice. www. On the other side. But due to mechanical problems (bearings).5-2 m/sec .

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