Estimating energy in grinding using DEM modelling


The latest state of the art on Discrete Element Method (DEM) and the increased computational power are capable of incorporating and resolving complex physics in comminution devices such as tumbling mills. A full 3D simulation providing a comprehensive prediction of bulk particle dynamics in a grinding mill is now possible using the latest DEM software tools.

This paper explores the breakage environment in mills using DEM techniques, and how these techniques may be expanded to provide more useful data for mill and comminution device modelling. A campaign of DEM simulations were performed by varying the mill size and charge particle size distribution to explore and understand the breakage environment in mills using DEM techniques. Analysis of each mill was conducted through consideration of the total energy dissipation and the nature of the collision environment that leads to comminution.

The DEM simulations show that the mill charge particle size distribution has a strong influence on the mill input power and on the way the energy is distributed across the charge. The smaller particles experience higher energies while the larger experience less, but this variation is strongly dependent on the mill size. The results also showed that the average particle collision energy increases with increasing mill size, whereas its distribution over particle size is strongly influenced by the mill content particle size distribution. The simulations also captured the energy distribution within different regions of the tumbling charge, with the toe impact region having higher impact energies and the bulk shear region having higher tangential energies. Regardless of the mill size most of the energy is consumed by the particles in the mid-size range, which has the highest percentage mass of the total charge distribution.

University of Queensland, JKMRC, 40 Isles Road, Indooroopilly, QLD 4068, Australia

This paper may be downloaded here.