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Computer Simulation of Product Size


Distribution of a Laboratory Ball Mill
a
Vedat Denz
a
Department of Chemical Engineering, Hitit University, orum,
Turkey
Version of record first published: 26 Oct 2011.

To cite this article: Vedat Denz (2011): Computer Simulation of Product Size Distribution of a
Laboratory Ball Mill, Particulate Science and Technology: An International Journal, 29:6, 541-553

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Particulate Science and Technology, 29: 541553, 2011
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ISSN: 0272-6351 print=1548-0046 online
DOI: 10.1080/02726351.2010.536303

Computer Simulation of Product Size Distribution


of a Laboratory Ball Mill

VEDAT DENIZ
Department of Chemical Engineering, Hitit University, Corum, Turkey
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In this study, a computer simulation of a suitable matrix notation of the Broadbent


and Callcott grinding model was written. First, a chromite sample was ground in
the laboratory type batch ball mill at different grinding times, with different particle
size distributions and different capacities. Second, elements of the matrix for com-
puter simulation were found and a milling matrix was formed. Third, particle size
distributions were predicted by computer simulation for the whole test. Finally, a
relationship between the computer simulation predicted by dates and experimental
results was established, with a good correlation within the limits of mean error values.

Keywords chromite, grinding, particulate, simulation, size distribution

Introduction
Comminution is one of the most important unit operations in mineral processing
and several chemical industries. The comminution process fully represents the
complexity where many variables interact (ore type, grain size, grinding media,
percent solids, particle size distribution, etc.).
In recent years, there have been considerable improvements in comminution
efficiency, both due to the development of machines with the ability to enhance
energy utilization, and also due to optimal design of grinding systems and operating
variables that enable more efficient use of existing machines (Oner 1999). The study
of the comminution process and the understanding of different parameters that affect
it have increasingly become of interest to many researchers in the field of mineral
processing. Milling kinetics (Klimpel and Austin 1977), mill power (Yildirim et al.
1998), and load behavior (Lameck et al. 2006) have been studied as functions of
media size, media shape (Deniz 2003; Shi 2004; Ipek 2006; Lameck et al. 2006;
Lameck and Moys 2006), mills filled with balls as well as powder (Shoji et al.
1982; Deniz and Onur 2002; Deniz 2003, 2010a, 2010b), mill diameter (Austin
1973; Malghan and Fuerstenau 1976; Gupta et al. 1985), mill speed (Deniz 2004a),
and other variables (Austin et al. 1990; Yekeler et al. 2001; Deniz 2004b; Bozkurt
and Ozgur 2007).
The comminution of solids is a highly energy-consuming process. So, in the
second half of the 19th century, the first theories aimed at establishing the relation-
ship between solid comminution effect and energy used during comminution were

Address correspondence to Vedat Denz, Department of Chemical Engineering, Hitit


University, Corum, Turkey. E-mail: vedatdeniz@hitit.edu.tr

541
542 V. Deniz

formed. These theories, also called hypotheses, are known by the surnames of their
authors, such as: Rittinger, Kick, Bond, and Charles (Otwinowski 2006).
The main task of research into loose material comminution is to determine
general laws concerning the evolution of the particle size distribution during commi-
nution. Mathematical models predicting the particle size distributions of the commi-
nution product are called stochastic or statistic models. The models, based on the
population balance, are numerous and represented by a highly developed group of
stochastic models. Two probability functions, namely breakage and selection, are
introduced in stochastic modelling. Epstein (1948), Broadbent and Callcott (1956),
and Gardner and Austin (1962) are regarded as the creators of the stochastic model
of comminution. Broadbent and Callcott (1956) divided the complete crushing
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mechanism into breakage, selection, and classifying functions to establish relations


between the feed and product distribution. Additionally, the classifying function
in the ball mill did not conform to the functions that occurred in other
comminution mechanics (Lynch 1977; Pitchumani and Venkateswarlu 1980).
A more recent study to represent grinding has used a completely different
approach: the kinetic or size-mass balance models. One of the earliest attempts to
describe grinding using an approach other than energy consumption was done by
Epstein (1948), who described grinding, in terms of two basic concepts: the prob-
ability of breakage of the material of a given size and the size distribution of the pro-
duct in a breakage event. In 1956, Broadbent and Callcott, for the first time applied,
a matrix notation to describe grinding, using the concepts introduced earlier by
Epstein (1948).
The fundamental aspect of all comminution models is the description of the
product of a single breakage event. This is called the breakage function, a function
that has been very difficult to determine experimentally because there is no
non-destructive testing technique that will give information about the inherent
breakage properties of minerals.
Breakage of particles from one size to a smaller one will be described using
breakage functions Si for the specific rate of breakage out of size i and bij for the
probability that a particle that is broken out of size j will be distributed to size i.
The breakage functions Si and bij depends on the physicomechanical properties of
the material and the grinding conditions (Park et al. 1998). Studies by Austin et al.
(1984) and Deniz (2003) show that assuming first-order breakage for ball milling is
often an excellent approximation.
A Rosin-Rammler distribution is used to describe particle size distribution after
size reduction of a material, that is,
0 u
Bx;x0 1  ex=x 1

where x is a size such that a very significant portion of the product which is less than
this size was produced by fine breakage. In the calculation, this distribution is altered
so that the material predicted above the size of the original particle appears after
breakage at the original particle size. This amount is generally small (Lynch 1977).
Broadbent and Callcott (1956) postulated that a modification of the
Rosin-Rammler equation written as:
 
u  
Bx; y 1  ex=y 1  e1 2
Computer Simulation of Product Size Distribution 543

Figure 1. Notation of breakage, selection and unit matrix.

gave a convenient form for the distribution of particles after breakage and the
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exponent u is an adjustable parameter, taken as 1.0 for ball milling. The function
B(x,y) represented the proportion of particles initially of size y, which appeared in
size ranges smaller than x after breakage. bi,j was defined fractionated to elements
as B(x,y), where bi,j meant the fraction of the material of interval j, fell to a lower
interval i due to breakage (Lynch 1977; Salopek et al. 1986; Austin et al. 1984).
The selection function is the breakage velocity parameter and is represented by
Si..Particles of all sizes that enter a grinding process have some probability of being
broken and this probability may change as the size of the particles change (Lynch
1977).
To apply the mass balance model equations for scale up, the dependence of the
kinetic parameters (Si, bi,j) on the mill dimensions and operating conditions must be
known (Herbst 1987).
The Broadbent and Callcott (1956) model equation, following the matrix
notation of the laboratory grinding process for n steps of breakage is:

P Dn  F 3

where, F and P represented the feed and product vectors, respectively, and n is num-
ber of steps in breakage. D is the milling matrix and can be written for ball milling as:

DBSI S 4

where B is the breakage matrix, S is the selection matrix, and I is the unit matrix. The
milling matrix equation is shown in Figure 1.
The Broadbent and Callcott (1956) model makes it possible to predict the
product size distribution, if the feed size distribution, capacity, and grinding time
are known.
In this study, a computer simulation of a suitable matrix notation of the
Broadbent and Callcott grinding model was written. The results of the predicted
and experimental studies were compared with each other and comments were
presented.

Experimental Studies
Material and Method
Chromite samples taken from deposits belonging to the Burdur Mining Co. in Budur
(the Yesilova deposit), Turkey, were used as the experimental materials. The charac-
terization of the raw material included chemical analysis with an x-ray fluorescence
544 V. Deniz

Table 1. Chemical composites of chromite sample


using in experiments

Oxides (%)

Cr2O3 30.81
Fe2O3 15.84
Al2O3 8.36
SiO2 11.13
MgO 25.27
CaO 0.26
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Loss on ignition 5.70


Cr=Fe 1.90

(XRF) spectrometer to determine its chemical composition. Chemical properties of


chromite samples used experimentally are presented in Table 1.
Mineralogical investigations were conducted both using the polarized micro-
scope and transmitted light microscopy. Results indicate that samples prove to be
mixtures of chromite [FeO  Cr2O3] and serpentine (magnesium iron silicate hydrox-
ide) minerals [(Mg,Fe)3  Si2O5(OH)4]. Chromite crystals were seen as subhedrall,
unhedrall crystals, and different particle size. Wall rock is fully serpentinized ultra-
bazic rock. Addition, this sample was seen fine band opaque minerals to think over
magnetite mineral. The ore contains approximately 4050% of chromite, and about
5060% of serpentine. Relative density of chromite and serpentine are 4.6 and 2.6 g=
cm3, respectively. Relative density of ore samples is approximately 3.4 g=cm3.
In this study, chromite ore was crushed in the laboratory with a jaw crusher to a
size less than 2.8 mm and samples were grouped for tests.
In the grinding experiments, a batch laboratory mill (20  20 cm) was used. In
every experiment 10 kg iron balls containing 2 cm (5 kg), 1 cm (3 kg), and 0.5 cm
(2 kg) has been charged (ball filling is J 0.35). Revolution of the mill was constant
at 66 rev=min.
After the grinding process, as series of sieves of 2.8 1.7 mm, 1.7 1.0 mm,
1.0 0.600 mm, 0.600 0.355 mm, 0.355 0.212 mm, 0.212 0.125 mm, and
.125 mm in a screen ratio of 1.666, were used and dry sieving was done by hand.
Experimental processes have been carried out in four tests and these were defined
herewith.

Tests for Measuring Grinding Times


The tests of grinding time measurements with 1200 g chromite ore (powder filling is
fc 0.056) were made in four stages of 2.5, 5, 7.5, and 10 min. Following this, sieve
analysis of the products at each grinding stage and feed were made.
From the above tests, particle size distribution of the first stage ground product
and sample of the chromite feed was used as the base-forming milling matrix.

Tests on Different Feed Size Distribution


In this test, a 1200 g sample (powder filling is fc 0.056) of feed with different size
distribution was ground at four stages and the products were sieved.
Computer Simulation of Product Size Distribution 545

Tests on Capacity
In these capacity tests, an additional 1600 g (160 g=min) (powder filling is fc 0.075)
and 1920 g (192 g=min) (powder filling is fc 0.090) samples were tested under
similar conditions and the products were sieved.

Tests of Different Feed Size Distribution and Capacity


In this test, an additional 1600 g (160 g=min) (powder filling is fc 0.075) of feed
samples having a different size distribution was ground under similar conditions
and the resulting products were sieved.
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Figure 2. Flow chart of the computer simulation.


546 V. Deniz
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Figure 3. Screen view of the computer program. (Figure available in color online.)

Definition of a Computer Program


The result of the experimental data on the studies of the sieve analysis of products
was put in to computer simulation. First, experimental errors were removed from
the program by using Rosin-Rammler-Bennet distribution approach.
In addition, the milling matrix was formed by finding the breakage and selection
parameters from the resulting particle size distribution in the feed and the first stage
of the grinding test.
Computer Simulation of Product Size Distribution 547

Input of the simulation consisted of

. a series of sieves,
. a number of sieves,
. the ratio of the sieves,
. a grinding stage number,
. grinding stage capacities,
. whether substages were or were not required, and
. feed and product size distributions.
Output of the simulation consisted of:
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. product size distribution at different stages,


. product size distribution at different capacities,
. the size distribution of products obtained at different feed size distributions,
. the mean square error of the predicted and experimental results, and
. the correlation coefficients of the predicted and experimental results.

Simulation was in the Basic language and used in every type of P.C. computer. A
flow chart of this simulation is given in Figure 2. Additionally, a screen view of the
computer simulation is given in Figure 3.

Result and Discussion


Results of Grinding at Different Times
Sieve analysis of the feed, product and inputs of different grinding times are given in
Table 2. Additionally, in Figure 4, the predicted and experimental, cumulative under
size values are compared.

Table 2. Comparison of experimental and predicted size distributions at different


grinding time

2.5 min 5.0 min 7.5 min 10 min

Particle size Feed Exp. Predict. Exp. Predict. Exp. Predict. Exp. Predict.
(mm) % % %. % % % % % %

2800 1700 11.11 7.05 7.00 3.42 4.41 2.20 2.78 1.56 1.75
1700 1000 12.69 9.35 9.34 5.98 6.75 4.36 4.80 3.25 3.38
1000 600 16.36 13.63 13.67 10.40 11.09 8.35 8.79 6.62 6.84
600 355 15.28 14.34 14.44 12.67 13.02 11.08 11.36 9.38 9.66
355 212 13.16 13.72 13.73 13.67 13.53 12.87 12.81 11.62 11.77
212 125 9.85 11.29 11.47 12.40 12.32 12.46 12.56 11.94 12.33
125 000 21.58 30.63 30.36 41.46 38.88 48.68 46.90 55.62 54.27
Correlation 0.99991 0.99984 0.99998 0.99995
coefficient
Mean error values 0.130 1.122 0.755 0.559
548 V. Deniz
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Figure 4. Comparison of experimental and predicted, cumulative under size values at different
grinding times.

Grinding Results of Feed Having Different Size Distribution


Same samples in different size distributions ground at four stages, and the experi-
mental and predicted values of the products are given in Table 3. In Figure 5, the
predicted and experimental, cumulative under size values are compared.

Table 3. Comparison of experimental and predicted size distributions at different


feed size distribution

2.5 min 5.0 min 7.5 min 10 min

Particle size Feed Exp. Predict. Exp. Predict. Exp. Predict. Exp. Predict.
mm % % %. % % % % % %

2800 1700 17.88 10.17 11.26 6.70 7.10 4.94 4.47 3.75 2.82
1700 1000 19.10 13.54 14.19 10.15 10.32 7.76 7.39 6.19 5.22
1000 600 20.42 17.77 17.80 15.05 14.86 12.41 12.03 10.51 9.51
600 355 15.46 16.33 15.97 15.56 15.23 13.97 13.81 12.62 12.08
355 212 10.85 13.59 12.93 14.39 13.81 14.07 13.81 13.52 13.20
212 125 6.69 9.75 9.49 11.34 11.35 12.02 12.39 12.23 12.77
125 000 9.60 18.85 18.36 26.81 27.33 34.83 36.11 41.18 44.41
Correlation 0.98473 0.99813 0.99966 0.99948
coefficient
Mean error values 0.599 0.367 0.583 1.409
Computer Simulation of Product Size Distribution 549
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Figure 5. Comparison of experimental and predicted, cumulative under size values at different
feed size distribution.

Grinding Results of Different Capacities


The samples with similar size distribution and at different capacities were ground,
and the experimental and predicted size distributions of the products are given in
Table 4. In Figure 6, the predicted and experimental, cumulative under size values
are compared.

Table 4. Comparison of experimental and predicted size distributions at different


capacity

120 g=min 160 g=min 192 g=min

Particle size Feed Exp. Predicted Exp. Predicted Exp. Predicted


mm % % % % % % %

2800 1700 11.11 1.56 1.75 1.80 2.78 1.75 3.59


1700 1000 12.69 3.25 3.38 4.43 4.80 4.73 5.78
1000 600 16.36 6.62 6.84 9.13 8.79 9.94 9.94
600 355 15.28 9.38 9.66 12.36 11.36 13.86 12.19
355 212 13.16 11.62 11.77 14.19 12.81 15.00 13.17
212 125 9.85 11.94 12.33 13.33 12.56 13.68 12.44
125 000 21.58 55.62 54.27 44.75 46.90 41.54 42.89
Correlation 0.99995 0.9960 0.99390
coefficient
Mean error values 0.559 1.17 1.34
550 V. Deniz
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Figure 6. Comparison of experimental and predicted, cumulative under size values at different
capacities.

Grinding Results of Different Capacities and Size Distribution


The results of the tests of samples in different capacities and different size distribu-
tions are given in Table 5. In Figure 7, the predicted and experimental, cumulative
under size values are compared.

Conclusions
According to experimental and predicted results, the grinding matrix model can be
used in the predicted size distribution of grinding in laboratory mills. Similarly,

Table 5. Comparison of experimental and predicted size distributions at different


capacity and different size distribution

120 g=min 160 g=min


Particle size Feed 1 Feed 2
mm % Exp. % Predicted % % Exp. Predicted %

2800 1700 11.11 1.56 1.75 11.14 2.75 2.79


1700 1000 12.69 3.25 3.38 19.14 6.63 6.50
1000 600 16.36 6.62 6.84 23.21 11.89 11.99
600 355 15.28 9.38 9.66 17.99 14.61 14.35
355 212 13.16 11.62 11.77 12.29 15.29 14.52
212 125 9.85 11.94 12.33 7.21 13.18 12.94
125 000 21.58 55.62 54.27 9.02 36.91 35.94
Correlation coefficient 0.99995 0.99916
Mean error values 0.559 0.492
Computer Simulation of Product Size Distribution 551
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Figure 7. Comparison of experimental and predicted, cumulative under size values at different
capacities and different feed size variations.

the matrix model developed for industrial size mills should be used by industries.
This model was very simple to use and reliable.
The high reliability of this model was indicated by not only the high correlation
coefficient and but also mean square error values generally close to zero or not
exceeding 1.4. The results of the v2 tests were given 94% reliability.
By this method provides many advantages as follow:
1. a reduction in number of experiments,
2. a reduction of comminution costs,
3. the effects of capacity changes can be investigated,
4. the grinding circuit performance can be determined,
5. the effect of ore flow changes that occur in the mill can be investigated, and
6. the investigation of the effect of grinding parameters can be conducted easily.
The reliability of this model depended on the initial milling matrix determination
by regression analysis using the Least Square, Rosin-Rammler-Bennet,
Gaudin-Schuman-Gates, etc.

Nomenclature
i size class number of product
J size class number of feed
Si specific rate of breakage (min1)
bi,j breakage distribution function, part of interval j falling into interval i
B(x,y) dimensionless function of two variables
n number of steps in breakage
u an adjustable parameter, taken as 1.0 for ball milling
552 V. Deniz

F feed vectors
P product vectors
D milling matrix
I unit matrix
S diagonal matrix of selection
B triangular matrix of breakage
J ball filling
fc powder filling
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