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**Calculation and Scale-up of Breakage and Selection
**

Functions of Sangan Iron Ore From A Laboratory Ball Mill

A. Farzanegan, A Khodadadi* and M. Aazami**

Assistant Professor, University of Kashan, *Assistant Professor, **Graduate Student,

Faculty of Engineering, Mining Department, Tarbiat Modares University,

Kashan, Iran Tehran, Iran

ABSTRACT: The grinding process consumes about 90% of the energy required in ore processing (crushing 5-

7% and explosives 3-5%). Therefore, its optimal design and operation is of great importance to mineral industry.

During last decade modeling and simulation have been used extensively for control and optimization of grinding

system. The two most important parameters in simulating grinding processes are breakage and selection

functions. These parameters can be obtained using laboratory ball mills. Selection function is scaled for larger

mills using mathematical models. Both grinding parameters were obtained for provided iron ore sample from

Sangan mine. The experimental results showed that breakage function is normalizable and ϕ, γ and β are 0.405,

1.5 and 6, respectively. The optimum diameter of grinding balls found to be about 25 mm. Finally, based on

industrial ball mill characteristics and calculated ball mill diameter, selection function parameters α, µ and Λ

were obtained to be equal to 1.63 , 4.5 and 6.5, respectively.

1. INTRODUCTION

Sangan iron ore mine is located approximately

300 km away from the city of Mashhad in east

north of Iran. The design of iron ore processing

plant is based on well-established procedures

using Bond method. However, in this research

work, authors carried out some experimental tests

to build mathematical models for investigation

on various design options available. The object-

tive of using a simulator was to design the closed

ball milling circuit using population balance

modeling approach and finally use the results as

a double check of Bond method approach.

Computer simulation can assist mineral pro-

cessing engineers to design new grinding circuits,

but this is not, by no means, an easy task and

requires a lot of expertise and availability of

design data. The authors did experimental grin-

ding of representative iron ore samples collected

from two main anomalies, i.e., B and C, in a

laboratory ball mill to determine breakage

function of the ore and estimating the selection

function of industrial scale ball mill based on the

selection function found for the laboratory ball

mill.

2 EXPERIMENTAL

2.1 Materials

Representative samples were obtained from

various ore zones of the Sangan mine. The

average chemical composition of the ore is given

in Table 1.

Table 1: Chemical composition of a sample of

Sangan iron ore

Composition

(%)

Quantity

(%)

Fe2O3 68.03

MgO 7.78

Al2O3 0.65

SiO2 3.2

P2O5 0.02

SO3 16.8

Cl 0.05

Na2O 0.12

MnO 0.21

CaO 0.35

K2O 0.08

The ore is mostly composed of Fe2O3 and

MgO. Therefore grinding behaviour of the mineral

phases corrosponding to these components highly

affect the ore comminution process.

126 Mineral Processing Technology (MPT 2007)

2.2 Breakage Distribution Function

To fully characterize the grindability of the ore

samples, standard Bond work index tests were

performed first. The work indices of ore samples

of anomlies B and C were obtained to be equal to

13 kWh/ton and 15.1 kWh/ton, respectively.

Eight mono-sized fractions (-2000 + 1680, -1680

+ 1410, –1410 + 1190, –1190 + 1000, –1000 +

840, –840 + 710, –710 + 590 and –590 + 500

micron) were prepared and grinding tests were

carried out to determine the breakage function of

prepared samples. A laboratory batch mill

charged with grinding balls (characteristics and

test conditions are described in Table 2) were

used to do all tests, by placing adequate ore

sample inside the mill and for grinding for the

specified length of time. After each stage of

grinding, ground materials were discharged and

sieved with a Ro-Tap shaker, the remained mass

on each screen were measured. The sieved

material were put back into the mill and this

procedure were continued for a specified number

of time intervals.

Table 2: Ball mill characteristic and test

conditions

Mill shell Inner diameter D, mm 200

Length L, mm 200

Volume V, cm3 6280

Speed Critical speed, rpm 135

Operational speed, rpm 84

Diameter d, mm 9.6, 16.6, 25.4

Specific gravity 7.8

Average ball weight, g 155

Fractional ball filling, JB 0.24

Total mass, kg 6.477

Material charge Iron Ore

Specific gravity, g/cm

3

4.5

Total powder weight, g 300

Powder-ball loading ratio, U 0.40

Based on the raw data obtained from batch

grinding tests, ore breakage function were

estimated using BFDS software (Yousefi,

Farzanegan and Irannajad, 2005). Results of

these tests showed that the breakage function of

the tested ore is normalizable. The following

equation (Broadbent and Callcott, 1956) was

used to fit the cumulative breakage function:

( ) 1

γ β

x x

B x; y =φ +( φ)

y y

| ` | `

÷ ÷

. , . ,

(1)

where y) B(x; is the primary breakage

function when feed material are broken from

particle size γ to particle size x . Model para-

meters have been shown with ϕ, γ and β. The

best values of ϕ, γ and β were determined using

the non-linear optimization algorithm imple-

mented in BFDS software. These values are

equal to 0.405, 1.504 and 6.0, respectively. The

obtained model showed good conformity with

laboratory test.

2.3 Selection Function Estimation

To determine the selection function for a particle

size class, a semi-logarithmic curve of the

remained mass on the screen vs. grinding time is

plotted. Then, as grinding process of homo-

geneous ore follows a first order kinetics, the

slope of the line fitted to data points indicates the

selection function. Figure 1 shows the remained

mass on screen vs. grinding time for Sangan iron

ore samples.

Fig. 1: Remained mass on screen vs. grinding

time for Sangan iron ore

It is observed that data points are not on a

single line indicating non-homogeneous nature of

the tested sample. Indeed, the ore is constituted

of two major phases with different grindability

behavior. The initial part of the curve with a

higher slope (i.e., a higher selection function or a

higher specific rate of breakage) is related to the

soft phase and the rest of the curve with a lower

Calculation and Scale-up of Breakage and Selection Functions of… 127

slope is related to the hard phase which is ground

with a lower specific rate of breakage.

The semi-logarithmic plots of remained

mass vs. grinding time for B and C anomallies

showed that the grindability of ore samples from

anomaly C is lower than that of for anomaly B

(by comparing the slope of fitted lines). This

finding can also be confirmed by comparing the

work indices of ore samples of both anomalies. A

weighted average of selection functions of soft

and hard mineral phases were used in computer

simulations. The mass fraction of each phase in

the ore was used as weighting factor which yield

an average selection function equal to 0.00789

per second. To fit selection function data points,

Equation 2 was used (Austin, 1984, King, 2001):

( )

1

0

1

α

p

p Λ

p

s d

k d = ,Λ

d

+

μ

>

| `

÷

. ,

(2)

where

) k(d

p

is selection function

corresponding to particle size

p

d

. μ α, and

Λ

are characteristic parameters for the material

being broken and mill conditions.

1

S is the

selection function at particle size equal to 1 mm.

A number of grinding test were done to

investigate the effect of ball size on the selection

function. These tests were helpful to find the

optimum media size and also selection function

scale-up. Ball size of 9.6 mm, 16.6 mm and 25.4

mm were used in the tests. For a given grinding

ball size, the test mill selection function was

determined by assuming a first-order kinetics

grinding and a linear fit to experimental data to

obtain optimum value of the parameter defining

the slope of the line. Equation 2 was then used to

fit the plot of various estimated selection function

vs. screen or particle size.

3. SELECTION FUNCTION SCALE-UP

Selection function for an operating industrial ball

mill is normally estimated based on particle size

distributions of its feed and discharge streams (by

screen analysis of plant samples collected from

both streams), design and operating conditions

with the help of parametric estimation software

such as NGOTC (Farzanegan, 1998). However,

in this study, the selection function determined

for the laboratory ball mill by grinding Sangan

iron ore samples had to be scaled up for the

designed industrial-scale ball mill which is not

installed yet.

In order to scale the laboratory or test mill

selection function, the effects of mill diameter

and media size were considered. Equations 3 and

4 were used to scale up for mill diameter and

media size, respectively (King, 2001).

( )

( )

( ) ( )

1 2.3

1

2.3

1T

0.1 1 6.6J

1 6.6J 0.1

1 exp 15.7 0.94

1 exp 15.7 0.94

exp

N

m c T

mT cT

cT

c

T

Dφ S +

=

S D +φ

+φ

+φ

c U U

| ` | ` | `

×

÷ ÷ ÷

. , . , . ,

| ` ]

]

÷×

÷

]

] . ,

]

]

(3)

Where

m

D , J ,

c

φ and U are mill diameter,

fraction of mill volume filled by balls, mill

rotational speed and fraction of media interstices

filled by slurry, respectively. c is a constant

equal to 1.20 and 1.32 for dry and wet grinding

under normal slurry conditions, repectively

(Austin, 1984). Symbols with subscript T denote

the value of parameters under laboratory or test

conditon.

3.1 Mill diameter effect

Table 3 shows various design parameters of the

industrial-scale ball mill which were used in

Equation 3 to obtain scale-up factor. Accor-

dingly, a scale-up factor equal to 12.37 was

found which then used to calculate the selection

function for the industrial ball mill (Aazami,

2005).

Table 3: Industrial mill specification

Design Parameter Value

Mill diameter (m) 6.01

Mill length (m) 10.2

Fraction of mill volume filled by 30

128 Mineral Processing Technology (MPT 2007)

ball charge, J (%) Mill rotational speed (% of Ncs) 70

Calculation and Scale-up of Breakage and Selection Functions of… 129

action of media interstices

filled by slurry, U

0.6

3.2 Ball Size Effect

The selection function scaled up in the previous

section, with respect to mill size effect, was

further scaled to also include ball size effect.

Equation 4 allows for taking into account the

distribution of ball sizes in the industrial ball mill

and ball size used in test mill (King, 2001):

0

1

N

T

k

k α

p 1 p Λ

p

k

d

m

d

k(d )= S d

d

+

μ

| `

÷

. ,

| `

÷

. ,

¿

(4)

where

k

d and

k

m denote representative

diameter of the

k

th ball size class and mass

fraction of the k th ball size class in the mill

charge, respectively.

0

N is a constant.

k

μ is

calculated using the following equation:

2 3

N N

k m k

kT mT T

D d

D d

µ

µ

| ` | `

·

÷ ÷

. , . ,

(5)

where

1

N ,

2

N are constants. For

recommended values of the constants refer to

King, R.P. 2001.

4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Two basic grinding model parameters including

Breakage (distribution) function and selection

function were determined for simulation of the

proposed closed ball milling circuit at Sangan

iron ore processing plant. These parameters were

successfully used by the authors to predict the

performance of ball milling circuit proposed by

the plant designers. The batch ball milling tests

performed on the samples of the two main

anomalies indicate that the ore of anomaly B is

softer than that of anomaly C and their breakage

follows first-order kinetics. Also, the breakage

functions determined for various particle sizes

show the breakage function for both anomalies

are reasonably normalizable. As breakage

function is considered to be a property of the

material being ground (such as minerals and

ores), therefore they were used for later circuit

simulations without any scale-up. The shape of

the selection function vs. particle size curves

obtained by grinding of samples using various

ball sizes was used to determine the optimum

range of grinding media size. In laboratory tests,

the onset point of abnormal breakage was

observed around 1350 μm for 9.6 mm grinding

ball size. However, with increasing grinding ball

size to 25.4 mm, no abnormal breakage was

occurred.

5. CONCLUSIONS

The results showed that the breakage function of

both anomalies is independent of the particle

size. But the specific rate of breakage changes

with feed size and ball size. Also optimum size of

ball for grinding of this feed is between 9.6 mm

and 16.6mm. Ore from anomaly C is harder than

that of from anomaly B which is also confirmed

by bond work index values.

6. ACKNOWLODGMENT

The authors thank Sangan Iron Ore Mine for

permitting access to the project site providing

required data and ore samples.

REFERENCES

[1] Aazami, M., Simulation of Comminution Circuit

of Sangan Mine mineral processing plant, M.Sc.

thesis, 2005, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran,

Iran.

[2] Broadbent, S.R. and Callcott, T.G., Coal

breakage Processses: I. A new analysis of coal

breakage processes, Journal of the Institution of

Fuel. 29, (Dec.): 524-528.

[3] Austin, L.G., Klimpel, R.R. and Luckie, P.T.,

Process Engineering of size reduction: Ball

Milling, 1984, SME, New york, New york, USA.

[4] Farzanegan, A., Knowledge-based optimization

of mineral grinding circuits, Ph.D. thesis. 1998,

McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

[5] King, R.P., Modeling and simulation of mineral

processing systems, 2001, Butterworth-

Heinemann, Oxford, Great Britain.

130 Mineral Processing Technology (MPT 2007)

[6] Yousefi, A.A., Farzanegan, A. and Irannajad, M.,

Indtroducing BFDS software for determination

of ore breakage functions, 2005, Iranian Mining

Engineering Conference, Tehran, Iran.

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