Estimation of pulp viscosity and grinding mill performance by means of mill noise measurements

Watson, J. L. ; Morrison, S. D.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
It is well known that the density and viscosity of a mill pulp have optimum levels for grinding efficiency, and sophisticated control loops are employed to control pulp density in industry. However, these control loops rely on a number of plant measurements, and often the input data will not permit effective determination and control of the mill pulp density. The use of a single remote pulp density measurement has obvious advantages, and it is suggested and demonstrated for laboratory batch grinding that mill noise measurements can indicate the effective density of the mill pulp. In addition, the mill noise is shown to indicate the actual effective pulp viscosity in the mill and hence permit the identification of the dynamic rheological regime existing in the mill. It is demonstrated that mill noise increases with grind time and, at any given grind time, with increasing pulp density in the pseudoplastic range. This increase in mill noise level with pulp density is interpreted as indicating a decreasing pulp viscosity. The results show that the transition from dilatant to pseudoplastic conditions within the mill, with increasing pulp density, can be identified by this increase in mill noise. When the pseudoplastic pulp started to exhibit yield characteris- tics, the mill noise fell dramatically. The technique of mill noise analysis is then used to investigate the effect of a grinding additive on the batch grinding of two ores. With a magnetite ore, the additive was shown to increase the mill noise, and hence decrease the pulp viscosity, in the pseudoplastic region and to increase the effective grinding. The molybdenite ore, however, did not show significant noise level changes and did not show improved grinding efficiency.
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