Pulp Densities Within Operating Ball Mills

Davis, E. W.
Organization: The American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1945
ABOUT a year ago several carloads of magnetite ore from New York state were sent to the Mines Experiment Station at the University of Minnesota for grinding and concentration tests. The flowsheet used minus ½ -in. ore as feed to a 3 by 3-ft. overflow cylindrical ball mill operating at 37 r.p.m. in closed ciruit with a vibrating screen. The screen oversize was returned to the mill for further grinding and the screen undersize was concentrated magnetically. Several different screens, between 8 and 35 mesh, were used and it was desired to determine the capacity of the ball mill operating in closed circuit with each screen. From earlier tests using this flowsheet and equipment, it was known that when comparatively coarse screens were used it was necessary to increase the grinding dilution in the mill beyond that ordinarily used when grinding in closed circuit with classifiers. It was also known that after the circulating load had passed about zoo per cent of the original feed it tended to increase rapidly in amount, and grinding conditions appeared to become unstable. These conditions may be peculiar to this small ball mill but they were very marked in this series of tests. If conditions were not right, the mill would suddenly "go dead," and it was found desirable to operate so that the occasional rattle of balls against the lining of the mill could be detected. As the test proceeded, it was found that the cure for almost any difficulty that developed in the grinding circuit was to add more water to the mill feed. To begin with, the mill was operated at pulp densities of from 60 to 65 per cent solids but gradually it was found that with higher dilutions grinding conditions were more stable and the ball-mill power per ton of screen undersize decreased. Actually, the most satisfactory operating conditions were secured with a pulp density of about 40 per cent solids. The ore was hard but it was possible to grind ½ in. feed so that all would pass an 8-mesh screen with a power expenditure in the ball mill of less than 2 1/2 kw-hr. per ton and with a circulating load of less than 50 per cent. With so high a dilution in the feed to the mill, it was feared that steel wear would be very high. However, the mill was not noisy, and in order to find exactly the grinding conditions, a special test was made at the end of the main series of tests. After the mill had been in operation for several hours and grinding conditions had become balanced, the power to all the equipment was shut off at a given signal. The ball mill made about one revolution after the power was turned off, and just as soon as the mill stopped, a spout was placed at the discharge trunnion and all of the pulp that flowed out of the mill was caught in tanks. The manhole in the mill was then opened and the whole mill charge dumped into other tanks. Both of these products were weighed, dried, and weighed again. The balls were screened out and weighed, and the dry solids were sized. In this way it was possible to determine the nature of the pulp and the ore within the mill under actual grinding conditions.
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