A novel method for modelling of interactions between pulp, charge and mill structure in tumbling mills


Modelling the pulp fluid and its interaction with both the charge and the mill structure is an interesting challenge. The interaction is normally modelled with a combination of CFD and DEM, where the DEM particles (grinding balls) create the structure through which the fluid penetrates, and in its turn creates forces on the grinding balls. However, in a tumbling mill, many free surfaces are found and that limits the use of CFD. An alternative computational approach is here necessary.

The smoothed particle hydrodynamic (SPH) method has earlier been used to model a ball charge and its interaction with the mill structure. In the present contribution, a SPH description of the pulp fluid is introduced. The lifters and the lining are still modelled with the finite element method (FEM), and the grinding balls with DEM. This combined computational model makes it possible to predict pressure within the pulp fluid. It is also possible to predict how the dampening effect of the pulp liquid is affected by its viscosity and density. The charge induced torque in a laboratory-scale ball mill is used for validation, and the mechanical shock waves travelling in the mill system are described.


• Combined SPH–DEM–FEM mill model.

• Pulp is included into the numerical model.

• Direct coupling between force, stress and deflection for the whole mill system.

• Predict pressure in the pulp.