Stirred mill technology dates back to 1928 where the idea to use “an agitator and spherical grinding media” was presented. The year 1948 saw the successful application of Du Pont’s sandmill for pigment grinding. Subsequent years have led to the development of different types of stirred mills spanning a number of industries that require fine and ultrafine grinding.
In the context of the mining industry, smaller grain size and other mineralogical characteristics have motivated the need to grind finer. In order to address this need, the interest in stirred milling technologies has grown over the last 20 years as can be illustrated by the large body of literature published over this same period of time. The typical observation reported in the literature is that in certain circumstances stirred milling is significantly more efficient than ball milling.
Despite these developments, the tumbling mills are continuing to be used in fine and ultrafine grinding applications. The main reason for this, as communicated at the Canadian Mineral Processors roundtable discussion in 2013, is that the comfort level in understanding stirred milling technologies is not at the level of that of tumbling mills.
The aim of this paper is to contribute to increasing the general comfort level with stirred milling technologies by developing a better understanding of how power and energy is affected by stirred mill impellor design and mill operation. This will be accomplished by first completing an overview of the power models found in the literature followed by a general description of DEM and CFD stirred mill models as well as the insights that can be drawn from them. Finally, a generic stirred mill power model will be presented and applied to different stirred mill types in order to develop some insights into the differences between different mill types. The paper will close with a discussion on some of the challenges that these models have and how future research might contribute to overcoming them.
The authors have generously edited their slide presentation for CEEC's readers.
The full paper is provided with the generous permission of Canadian Mineral Processors (CMP).