Mineral Beneficiation - The Third Theory of Comminution

Bond, Fred C.
Organization: The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers
Pages: 11
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1953
MOST investigators are aware of the present unsatisfactory investigatorsstate of information concerning the fundamentals of crushing and grinding. Considerable scattered empirical data exist, which andare useful for predicting machine performance and give acceptable accuracy when the installations and materials compared are quite similar. However, there is no widely accepted unifying principle or theory that can explain satisfactorily the actual energy input necessary canexplain commercial installations, or can greatly extend the range of empirical comparisons. Two mutually contradictory theories have long existed in the literature, the Rittinger and Kick. They were derived from different viewpoints and logically lead to different results. The Rittinger theory is the older and more widely accepted.'TheRittinger In its first form, as stated by P. R. Ritted.'tinger, it postulates that the useful work done in crushing and grinding is directly proportional to the new surface area produced and hence inversely proportional to the product diameter. In its second form it has been amplified and enlarged to include the concept of surface energy; in this form it was precisely stated by A. M. Gaudin' as follows: "The efficiency of a comminution operation is the ratio of the surface energy produced to the kinetic energy expended." According to the theory in its second form, measurements of the surface areas of the feed and product and determinations of the surface energy per unit of new surface area produced give the useful work accomplished. Computations using the best values of surface energy obtainable indicate that perhaps 99 pct of the work input in crushing and grinding is wasted. However, no method of comminution has yet been devised which results in a reasonably high mechanical efficiency under this definition. Laboratory tests have been reported- hat support the theory in its first form by indicating that the new surface produced in different grinds is proportional to the work input. However, most of these tests employ an unnatural feed consisting either of screened particles of one sieve size or a scalped feed which has had the fines removed. In these cases the proportion of work done on the finer product particles is greatly increased and distorted beyond that to be expected with a normal feed containing the natural fines. Tests on pure crystallized quartz are likely to be misleading, since it does not follow the regular breakage pattern of most materials but is regularrelativelybreakage harder to grind patternat the finer sizes, as will be shown later. This theory appears to be indefensible mathematically, since work is the product of force multiplied by distance, and the distance factor (particle deformation before breakage) is ignored. The Kick theory4 is based primarily upon the stress-strain diagram of cubes under compression, or the deformation factor. It states that the work required is proportional to the reduction in volume of the particles concerned. Where F represents the diameter of the feed particles and P is the diameter of the product particles, the reduction ratio Rr is F/P, and according to Kick the work input required for reduction to different sizes is proportional to log Rr /log 2." The Kick theory is mathematically more tenable than the Rittinger when cubes under compression are considered, but it obviously fails to assign a sufficient proportion of the total work in reduction to the production of fine particles. According to the Rittinger theory as demonstrated by the theoretical breakage of cubes the new surface produced, and consequently the useful work input, is proportional to Rr-l.V f a given reduction takes place in two or more stages, the overall reduction ratio is the product of the Rr values for each stage, and the sum of the work accomplished in all stages is proportional to the sum of each Rr-1 value multiplied by the relative surface area before each reduction stage. It appears that neither the Rittinger theory, which is concerned only with surface, nor the Kick theory, which is concerned only with volume, can be completely correct. Crushing and grinding are concerned both with surface and volume; the absorption of evenly applied stresses is proportional to the volume concerned, but breakage starts with a crack tip, usually on the surface, and the concentration of stresses on the surface motivates the formation of the crack tips. The evaluation of grinding results in terms of surface tons per kw-hr, based upon screen analysis, involves an assumption of the surface area of the subsieve product, which may cause important errors. The evaluation in terms of kw-hr per net ton of —200 mesh produced often leads to erroneous results when grinds of appreciably different fineness are compared, since the amount of —200 mesh material produced varies with the size distribution characteristics of the feed. This paper is concerned primarily with the development, proof, and application of a new Third Theory, which should eliminate the objections to the two old theories and serve as a practical unifying principle for comminution in all size ranges. Both of the old theories have been remarkably barren of practical results when applied to actual crushing and grinding installations. The need for a new satisfactory theory is more acute than those not directly concerned with crushing and grinding calculations can realize. In developing a new theory it is first necessary to re-examine critically the assumptions underlying
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