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6.

Cement Milling
Performance
C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 72
6 . 1 I NT R ODUC T I ON
6 . 2 GR I NDA B I L I T Y
6 . 3 F I NE NE S S V E R S US K WH/ T ONNE
6 . 4 C I R C UI T P E R F OR MA NC E
6 . 5 S E P A R AT OR P E R F OR MA NC E
6 . 5 . 1 I NT R ODU C T I ON
6 . 5 . 2 T R OMP C U RV E A ND S E P A R AT OR E F F I C I E NC Y
6 . 5 . 3 S E P A R AT OR B Y- P A S S
6 . 5 . 4 I NF L U E NC E ON C I R C U I T P E R F OR MA NC E
6 . 6 MI L L HOL D- UP
6 . 7 ME DI A S I Z E S
6 . 8 MI L L S I MUL AT I ON
contents chapter 7
C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 73
6.1 INTRODUCTION
The preceding section aimed at examining the parameters
involved in ball mills and the mill systems used for the grinding
of cement.
In this section we shall consider some of the factors that
influence the efficiency of grinding, and attempt to understand
some of their interactions in the milling circuit.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 74
6.2 GRINDABILITY
The grindability of feed materials generally refers to the material
properties which influence the SSA: kWh/tonne relationship. If
material becomes harder then the SSA will be lower for a given
kWh/tonne, or, more realistically, the kWh/tonne will be higher
for a given SSA.
The grindability can be derived in various laboratory tests, the
majority of which use a laboratory ball mill test in which SSA is
monitored against grinding time. The grindability curve (See
Figure 56) can then be derived for a given clinker, or feed
material, and compared to a standard or reference curve.
Figure 56. Average Cement Grindability Curve.
Notes: For 0 200/250m
2
/kg, the relationship is close to linear
Above this SSA, the deviation from linear gradually
increases
e.g.from 100 to 200m
2
/kg requires 10.3kWh/tonne
from 300 to 400m
2
/kg requires 17.7kWh/tonne
i.e. ~70% more kWh/tonne
Grinding end-point effectively reached around
500 - 700m
2
/kg
The curve shown in Figure 56 represents a typical cement
(clinker and gypsum only) grindability curve. At 300, 350 and
400 m
2
/kg the kWh/tonne are:
300 m
2
/kg 33.7 kWh/t
350 m
2
/kg 41.0 kWh/t
400 m
2
/kg 51.4 kWh/t
Other clinkers can be compared at a particular SSA, either a
nominal one, e.g. 300 m
2
/kg, or at an actual production SSA.
For example, if another clinker gave 36.5 kWh/t at 300m
2
/kg
then its grindability would be 108% of the reference.
The curve can also be used when assessing plant operating data
where there have been small differences in SSA. (See TIS MS014)
For example:
To assess a change in grinding efficiency, for example as a
result of changing grinding additive
Example A: 370m
2
/kg 66.4 t/hr
Example B: 360m
2
/kg 69.7 t/hr
From the graph we would expect 44.9 and 42.8 kWh/t
respectively. Therefore can expect a 44.8/42.8 increase in
output for the reduction in SSA from 370 to 360m
2
/kg.
i.e. 66.4 x 44.9/42.8 = 69.7 tonnes/hour
Hence, in this example, the difference in B could be entirely
attributed to the change in SSA.
Clinker grindability becomes more difficult for:-
- higher C
2
S level
- harder burning (larger crystal sizes)
- higher clinker SO
3
(some of this is simply the effect on
a lower gypsum content)
- denser clinker
The grindability will appear easier where materials that
contribute to the SSA are present e.g.:-
- gypsum
- limestone
- pozzolan
- fly ash
As an example, a 1% gypsum increase will produce an additional
12 m
2
/kg for a constant kWh/t. (1% SO
3
, constant clinker SO
3
and constant kWh/t = 30m
2
/kg). (See also Section 1).
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 75
6.3 FINENESS VERSUS KWH/TONNE
We have already seen in Sections 5 and 6.2 that the relationship
between SSA and kWh/tonne is not linear (as postulated by
Rittinger). The deviation concerns the increasing negative
influence of agglomeration and coating as fineness increases. In
effect the slope of the relationship decreases as fineness increases.
In the previous section we saw the following values from the
grindability curve (Figure 56):-
300 m
2
/kg 33.7 kWh/t
350 m
2
/kg 41.0 kWh/t
400 m
2
/kg 51.4 kWh/t
Thus the overall slope (from 0 m
2
/kg) is:-
300 m
2
/kg 8.90
350 m
2
/kg 8.53
400 m
2
/kg 7.78
The units are m
2
/kg kWh/tonne, and these can be readily re-
arranged to m
2
/kWh, i.e. 8900, 8530 and 7780. Alternatively,
other units can be used, such as cm
2
/kWh and m
2
/kW.min.
However, one recognised unit is cm
2
/j (a joule is a watt. second)
Therefore we have:-
300 m
2
/kg 33.7 kWh/t = 24.7 cm
2
/j
350 m
2
/kg 41.0 kWh/t = 23.7 cm
2
/j
400 m
2
/kg 51.4 kWh/t = 21.6 cm
2
/j
Thus if a mill operates at a lower level of fineness the energy
efficiency (cm
2
/j) is higher. A typical relationship between the
efficiency in cm
2
/j and the mill exit fineness is shown in Figure 80.
Figure 80. Influence of Mill Exit Fineness on Ball Mill Efficiency
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 76
If we examine the lower line, then we can clearly see that as the
mill exit fineness increases the efficiency decreases.
As already discussed, the reduction in grinding efficiency is as a
result of:-
- agglomeration and subsequent disagglomeration of particles
- the resultant adhesion of particles to mill internals, i.e.
coating (See Figure 81)
Agglomeration is caused by Inter-Particle Attractive Forces
(See Figures 82 and 83):-
- mechanical packing of particles
- chemical bonding, e.g. hydration bridges
- thermodynamic, reduction in surface energy
- physical, e.g. surface charges
Note: 1 cm
2
/j = 360 m
2
/kWh
kWh/tonne = 1000 x m
2
/kg m
2
kWh
where m
2
/kg refers to the product fineness, f.
Figure 81. Influence of Agglomeration and Coating.
Figure 81. Influence of Agglomeration and Coating (continued).
Figure 82/83. Causes of Agglomeration.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
Compressibility of Agglomerates
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 77
6.4 CIRCUIT PERFORMANCE
6.4.1 OPEN CIRCUIT
Clearly, for an open-circuit mill, the mill exit fineness will have
to be virtually the same as that of the desired cement product
fineness. If we assume a grindability behaviour the same as that
shown in Figure 80, then for a product SSA of 370m
2
/kg we
have an efficiency of around 22.9 cm
2
/j.
Therefore the m
2
/kWh = 8244
Therefore the kWh/tonne = 44.9
(See Section 6.3 for equations)
6.4.2 CLOSED-CIRCUIT
In a closed circuit system the mill exit (or separator feed) SSA
will be lower than that of the product and will depend on the
circulating load and the separator performance.
If we now have a mill operating with a circulating load of 300%
(A/F) with a conventional separator producing a rejects SSA of
220m
2
/kg, the mill exit fineness would be: (See TIS MS013).
a = Ff + Rr
A
Assume F = 100, then A = 300 and R = 200
From above, f = 370 (same as in 6.4.1) and r = 220
Therefore a = 270 m
2
/kg
From figure 80, we would expect the efficiency to increase to
26.2cm
2
/j. Hence, as before, the kWh/tonne = 39.2.
Thus, compared to open-circuit operation we have a lower
kWh/t equivalent to a 44.9/39.2 increase in output, i.e. 14%.
The higher output results from the effect of the circulating load
reducing the mill exit fineness (and hence the in-mill fineness).
This results in less coating and agglomeration and thus an
increase in the grinding efficiency.
This represents the simple theoretical approach to closed-circuit
milling.
There are two ways in which the mill exit fineness, and hence
the efficiency can be further influenced, namely:
- increase of circulating load
- increase of separator efficiency
Using the same values as before, a circulating load of 500% gives:-
a = 100 x 370 + 400 x 220 = 250 m
2
/kg
500
The equivalent cm
2
/j (Figure 80) are 26.8 and the kWh/tonne
reduces to only 38.3.
For a high efficiency separator we shall see later that there are less
fines in the rejects and thus the SSA is lower, for example 90m
2
/kg.
a = 100 x 370 + 200 x 90 = 183 m
2
/kg
300
From Figure 80, the cm
2
/j = 27.5 and the corresponding kWh/t
are 37.4.
These calculations are summarised in Figure 84.
In fact, if we examine the circulating load only, we would
expect the mill exit fineness to continue to reduce for increasing
circulating load. Hence we would expect marginal gains in
efficiency (cm
2
/j), as shown in Figure 85, and thus continual
reductions in kWh/tonne.
However, in reality, there are a number of factors that limit
this:-
- physical limitation of materials handling (e.g. elevator)
- overloading of the separator
- overfilling of the mill
The latter two are discussed in the following sections.
Figure 84. Closed Circuit Operation, Influence of Circulating
Load.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
Mill Circuit Open Closed Closed Closed
Separator
Product SSA
Rejects SSA
A/F %
Mill Exit SSA
cm2/joule
kWh/tonne
Output %
N/A
370
N/A
100
370
22.9
44.9
100
Conv.
370
220
300
270
26.2
39.2
114
Conv.
370
220
500
250
26.8
38.3
117
H/E
370
90
300
183
27.5
37.5
120
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 78
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
Figure 85. Influence of Circulating Load on Mill Efficiency.
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 79
6.5 SEPARATOR PERFORMANCE
6.5.1 INTRODUCTION
The principal function of the separator is to correctly place the
finer sizes to the final product and the coarser sizes back to the
mill. We have already seen in Section 5 that the classification
results from a balance between centrifugal, drag and gravity
forces.
In practice, under steady-state operation, a separator will
operate at a "cut-point" size above which the particles will
predominantly pass to the returns and below which they will
predominantly pass to the product.
However there will be a degree of misplacement of material, i.e.
some larger sizes will pass to the product and more significantly
some finer particles will pass to the returns.
A convenient means of describing the performance of a
separation is to determine the grade efficiency curve (also
known as the Tromp Curve or Size Selectivity Curve).
6.5.2 TROMP CURVE AND SEPARATOR EFFICIENCY
The Tromp curve is determined as follows:-
1. Determine the particle size distributions for the separator
feed, fines and rejects (a, f, r). Present the results as
cumulative percent finer (See Figure 86).
2. Sum the 3 psd's and determine the mass balance, i.e. A, F,
R. In the example F = 50.8, therefore R = 49.2 and A/F =
197% (See also TIS MS013).
3. This is the A/F assumed to be closest to reality. However it
can also be calculated for the individual size intervals as
shown in Figure 86 using the incremental psd's.
4. The actual psd for the fines and rejects (f, r) are then used
with the calculated F and R to back calculate the psd for
the feed (a).
i.e. ai = Ffi + Rri
A
where ai, fi and ri are the incremental psd's
5. The Tromp curve is defined as:-
The mass of material at size i in the separator Rejects x 100%
The mass of material at size i in the separator Feed
i.e. Trompi = Rri
x 100%
Aai
The resultant curve is shown in Figure 87.
Figure 86. Particle Size Analysis and Separator Performance
Figure 87. Separator Performance, Coarse Grade Efficiency
Tromp Curve.
6. The Grade efficiency of 50% represents the size at which
particles have an equal chance of being placed in the fines
or rejects - hence the term equi-probable cut size, e. In the
example this is around 35 microns.
7. The "imperfection" can be assessed by the degree to which
Circulating Load: A/F = 197%
R/F = 97%
Equi-probabl Size e = 35 um
Separator By-pass S = 19%
Imperfection I = 0.32
Recovery at 48 micron Fines = 65%
Coarse = 83%
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
Particle
Size
(microns)
Percentage Finer Mid
Int.
Size
Calc.
F
Calc.
Feed
a
Coarse
Grade
Efficiency
Feed
a
Fines
f
Coarse
r
(microns)
192
128
96
64
48
32
24
16
12
8
6
4
3
2
1.5
1
99.4
97.3
93.5
82.4
70.2
52.0
41.8
31.5
26.2
20.3
16.7
12.3
9.7
6.7
5.0
3.1
100.0
99.8
99.2
96.1
89.7
74.3
62.1
47.2
38.8
29.6
24.1
17.7
14.0
9.8
7.4
4.6
98.2
94.3
87.2
67.7
49.0
28.2
20.7
15.5
13.5
11.2
9.6
7.4
5.9
4.0
3.0
1.8
160.0
112.0
80.0
56.0
40.0
28.0
20.0
14.0
10.0
7.0
5.0
3.5
2.5
1.75
1.25
0.5
avg =
49
51
51
53
48
57
53
52
52
51
52
50
48
50
44
46
50.2
99.1
97.1
93.3
82.1
69.7
51.6
41.7
31.6
26.3
20.5
17.0
12.6
10.0
6.9
5.2
3.2
95.0
92.0
85.9
73.9
56.7
37.3
25.3
18.8
19.5
22.0
25.0
28.2
30.5
28.8
29.4
27.5
SUM
SSA
(m2/kg)
Alpine
45um
668.1
205
29.3
814.4
330
6.6
517.2
90
46.4
F =
F =
F =
50.8
==
47.9
43.0
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 80
the curve deviates from the vertical. (Perfect separation, no
misplaced material, would be a vertical line at the
equiprobable size).
One method proposed for Imperfection is, I = D
75
- D
50
2 x D
50
where D
50
is the equiprobable cut size and D
75
is the size
corresponding to a Tromp efficiency of 75%.
In the example, this is 0.32.
The result, does however depend on the cut size.
8. The so-called "acceptance" and "rejection" efficiencies can
then be calculated from the psd and the cut size (e).
These define the efficiency of correctly placing material, i.e.
Acceptance efficiency:
E
a
= mass of material in the fines less than size e x 100%
mass of material in the feed less than size e
Rejection efficiency:
Er = mass of material in the rejects greater than size e x 100%
mass of material in the feed greater than size e
These two measures should aim to be as high as possible
and close to 100%.
9. "Recoveries" can be calculated in a similar manner for any
specified size. For example, in Figure 86, 48 microns was
chosen. The Fines Recovery was 65%, whilst the coarse
recovery was 83%.
This means that in the separation in question, 65% of the
material less than 48 microns was placed in the product
and 83% of the material greater than 48 microns was
placed in the rejects.
10. Finally we can determine the by-pass.
These parameters are summarised in TIS MS015.
6.5.3 SEPARATOR BY-PASS
The majority of the terms for separator efficiency discussed in
Section 6.5.2 are either relatively complex to compare or not
practical enough. For these reasons the term of by-pass, S, has
become increasingly referred to within the cement industry.
One of the deficiencies of conventional separators was the
comparative ease to which feed material could fall directly into
the rejects cone (See Figure 58 and Section 5.3).
This is an immediately obvious way that material can by-pass
the so-called separating zone.
The quantity of material that fails to be separated by the force
balance in the separating zone is referred to as the by-pass (See
Figure 88).
This can be directly interpreted from the Tromp curve (See
Figure 88), i.e. the by-pass is effectively the minimum coarse
grade efficiency (usually around 3-10 microns), in this case
19%.
The by-pass, in practice, describes the amount of feed material
being incorrectly placed directly into the rejects stream.
Many separations also have a noticeable "fish-hook", i.e. the
grade efficiencies increase after the minimum, for smaller sizes
(e.g. less the 5 microns), indicating recycle of fines at a higher
level than indicated from the by-pass alone.
This arises since these particles are treated as coarser particles
on account of:-
- agglomeration
- adhesion to larger particles
- entrainment
6.5.4 INFLUENCE ON CIRCUIT PERFORMANCE
Figure 88. Separator By-Pass.
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 81
Naturally as the by-pass increases, so the amount of fines
returned to the mill increases. The by-pass is increased for:-
- a reduced separation efficiency (e.g. conventional
separation compared to high efficiency)
- a higher circulating load
The latter is important for any given circuit since this can be
controlled over a large range of conditions.
In Section 6.4 we saw that, in theory, as circulating load
increases, the mill exit fineness (and hence in-mill fineness)
decreases and the overall efficiency should increase. However
for a given circuit, as the circulating load increases, the total
feed rate to the separator increases and the by-pass will increase.
Basically, separator efficiency decreases for an increase in feed rate
and hence an increase in loading. The loading can often be
represented simply in terms of tonnes/hour, or, for wider comparison,
in terms of kg/m
3
(solids to air loading) or tonnes/hour/m
2
(solids to
cross sectional area of either casing or rotor).
Thus the maximum efficiency of a separator is only when there
is effectively no feed (not much use). The deterioration of
efficiency is shown in Figure 89a, where 1-S is plotted against
the solids loading. The increase in by-pass is seen to be more
pronounced for conventional separators.
This increase in by-pass as circulating increases means that an
increasing level of fines are returned to the mill. In effect the
Blaine of the rejects increases and thus the reduction in Blaine at
the mill exit is not so great. This then results in lower grinding
efficiency (See Figure 89b)
Figure 89a. Influence of Solids Loading on Separator
Performance.
Figure 89b. Influence of By-Pass on Grinding Efficiency.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 82
Hence the expected beneficial influence of higher circulating
load on overall mill efficiency (cm
2
/j) is limited. See Figure 90.
In effect, there is an optimum circulating load due to a
compromise between two opposing effects, i.e.
- benefits of higher circulating load on mill exit fineness
- decrease in separator efficiency for higher loadings
However we shall now see that there is a further limitation on
the circulating load, that of mill hold-up.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
Figure 90. Influence of Circulating Load on Mill Efficiency.
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 83
6.6 MILL HOLD-UP
In Section 4 we examined the parameter of mill hold-up, i.e.
powder loading or residence time. The hold-up was discussed in
terms of the percentage of media voidage occupied by material.
This is shown schematically in Figure 91.
Figure 91. Powder Loading Void Filling.
For very low powder loadings (say less than 60% void filling) it
is reasonable to expect inefficient grinding since there will be a
large proportion of energy expended on media to media impacts
without any material comminution. Conversely, for very high
powder loadings (say more than 120% void filling) it would be
reasonable to expect cushioning and hence absorbance, of the
energy of media impacts in the material bed. Again, energy
efficiency would not be optimised.
Austin and co-workers investigated the influence of powder
filling and derived the following type of relationship:-
E = 3.26258e
-1.2U
where E represents grinding efficiency and U is the fractional
void filling. This shows higher levels of efficiency for lower
powder filling levels (See Figure 92a).
However, in a continuous mill in
steady-state, lower levels of
powder filling will mean lower
residence times. Overall grinding
achieved will be a product of
grinding efficiency (in effect rate of
grinding) and residence time.
Hence overall efficiency should be
seen as:-
Eff = 3.26258e
-1.2U
. U
The relationship is shown in Figure
92.
Figure 92a. Effect of Hold-Up on
Rate of Breakage.
Figure 92. Influence of Powder
Filling on Mill Efficiency.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
contents chapter 6 chapter 7
C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 84
The optimum void filling is seen to be at 85%. Experimentation
has also confirmed that the resultant optimum powder filling
occurs at 85% of void filling. (Note: this is for optimum void
filling alone and does not take into account optimisation of
other parameters. See later in this section). A number of milling
parameters have a strong influence on the hold-up in the mill,
and these include:-
- mill ventilation rate
- media grading
- diaphragm design and condition
- no. of chambers (no. of diaphragms)
- separator type and efficiency and circulating load
- volume loading
- mill speed
- use of additive (type and dosage?)
- material characteristics
It can be expected that higher mill airflows will assist in the
transport of material through the mill, thereby allowing a lower
powder filling. If the diaphragm becomes partially blocked, as
often happens, then the available open area to transport
material is lower, which dictates a higher powder level in the
mill to maintain steady-state flow through the diaphragm and
thus through the mill.
It has been shown that a higher mill throughput requires a
higher head for material to push itself through the media to
reach the discharge end of the mill. A higher throughput will
also need to cover a larger open area of the diaphragm in order
to transport a higher rate of material (as there is a limit to the
volume of material that can be transported per unit area of
slots). Thus higher total throughputs, e.g. higher circulating
load, will result in a higher powder filling level. Such a
relationship is shown in Figure 93.
Figure 93. Influence of Mill Throughput on Powder Filling Level.
Therefore, if we re-consider the effect of a higher
circulating load we now have:-
(i) benefits of a lower mill exit fineness leading to higher
grinding efficiency
but (ii) a decrease in separator efficiency as a result of a
higher loading, hence an increase in the returns of
fines, and thus opposing the benefits of (i)
and (iii) an increase in the total mill throughput and thus an
increase in the mill hold-up and hence a decrease in
the grinding efficiency (once above the optimum),
thereby opposing the benefits of (i) further.
The revised relationship for the influence of the circulating load
is shown in Figure 94
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
contents chapter 6 chapter 7
C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 85
Figure 94. Influence of Circulating Load on Mill Efficiency.
From these relationships it is possible to understand why an
optimum circulating load exists for any given mill. The
optimum circulating load will depend on the influence of:
- product fineness.
- in-mill fineness (mill exit Blaine) and hence the degree
of particle agglomeration and coating.
- separator loading and hence separation efficiency.
- mill void filling and hence grinding efficiency.
As already discussed, the optimum void filling is 85%, however
once the effect of optimum circulating load is accounted for the
overall optimum void filling is typically around 100%.
Below is a typical sequence of changing parameters as the
circulating load is increased:-
Thus there is an optimum circulating load for maximum output.
However, there is not an optimum separator efficiency, only a
separator by-pass which coincides with the overall optimum
conditions.
In this example, the optimum circulating load is around 360%
with a by-pass of 22%, a void filling of 100% and a mill exit
Blaine of 175m
2
/kg.
In general, a low circulating load will result in poor mill
efficiency due to high mill exit Blaine and high levels of
agglomeration and coating. A high circulating load will also
result in poor mill efficiency due to high separator loading, and
hence high by-pass and recycle of fines, and high mill loading
and high void filling, and hence low grinding efficiency.
The mill loading can be defined in terms of the total mill
throughput (feed + separator rejects) in tonnes/hr divided by the
mill cross-sectional area in m
2
. Hence the units are
tonnes/hour/m
2
. This value is usually in the range 20-30, with a
typical target of 20.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
Mill kW
Mill Diameter, m
Mill x. sectional
area, m
2
2100
3.6
10.2
Product Blaine,
m
2
/kg
Circulating Load,
A/F, %
Mill loading, t/hr/m
2
Mill Exit Blaine,
m
2
/kg
Separator By-pass, %
Mill Void Filling, %
Mill Output, t/hr
Mill kWh/t
Mill Output, %
150
8.0
280
9
77
54.6
38.5
94.5
200
11.1
235
12
85
56.5
37.2
97.8
300
17.0
190
18
96
57.7
36.4
99.8
360
20.4
175
22
100
57.8
36.3
100
370
500
28.2
155
28
109
57.5
36.5
99.5
1000
54.3
125
48
125
55.3
38.0
95.7
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 86
6.7 MEDIA SIZES
In chamber 1, the media is required to sufficiently reduce feed
sizes to allow grinding by relatively smaller media sizes in the
second chamber (and maybe subsequent chambers).
The top size is generally 90mm, although 100mm can be used in
some circumstances, so long as liner breakage does not become
an unacceptable risk. There are various relationships between
maximum feed particle size and ball size, such as that of Bond.
However, in general the media sizes in chamber 1 should be in
the following ranges:-
Ball Size Weight %
(mm) Coarse Medium Fine
90 40 25 15
80 29 36 41
70 19 24 27
60 12 15 17
Mean Size (mm) ~80 ~77 ~75
The actual choice of grading used will depend on:-
- Top size of clinker (or other)
- Hardness of clinker (or other)
- Liner design and condition
- Volume loading
In chamber 2, the media sizes will have a much greater influence
on the overall mill efficiency.
In many mills, the philosophy is to use a grading of ball sizes in
the 60-17mm size range, together with a classifying liner. The
classifying liner has the objective of placing the larger sizes
towards the inlet of the chamber, and thus the finer sizes at the
chamber outlet.
However, in theory, and in practice when all other parameters
are constant, grinding efficiency is greater for smaller ball sizes.
One explanation lies in the significantly higher number of balls
as the size decreases, which result in many more ball/particle
contacts. The relationship between specific rate of breakage (See
Section 3.4), i.e. grinding efficiency, and particle size is shown in
Figure 95.
For large particle sizes (above 1mm) larger ball sizes are more
effective. However for most particle sizes (e.g. below 0.5mm)
small ball sizes provide a higher rate of breakage. In fact, for
particles below 1mm, the optimum ball size is below 25mm.
(See Figure 96).
Thus, if particles can be efficiently crushed so that everything
passes 1mm, a small range of ball sizes should provide a greater
level of mill efficiency. For this reason some
manufacturers/suppliers have favoured a smaller sized media
grading of 25-17mm only. In this case, a classifying liner
becomes less important.
Figure 95. Relationship Between Particle Size and Ball Size for
Maximum Breakage Rate.
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 87
Figure 96. Relationship Between Particle Size and Breakage Rate
for Different Ball Sizes.
However, to ensure effective use of small media it is very
important to avoid:-
- high powder filling levels (high void filling)
- oversize feed particles
- mill internals coating
The efficiency of small ball sizes rapidly reduces if the powder
filling becomes excessively high (small ball sizes in effect "float",
and their impact energy is cushioned by the bed of material). The
presence of coarse particles (1mm and above) will not be
adequately treated by smaller ball sizes and hence can persist in
the second chamber and eventually result in excessive powder
filling. Once coated, small ball sizes more rapidly reduce in
efficiency of grinding than larger ball sizes.
Hence to successfully use smaller ball sizes, it is essential to have:-
- good chamber 1 performance, i.e. adequate crushing of
material and low levels of material larger than 1mm
passing to chamber 2.
- good intermediate diaphragm condition (no large
openings or defects)
- low void filling levels (good mill ventilation, not
excessive mill throughput)
The latter has to be examined with particular care, since smaller
media sizes result in an increased resistance to material flow
through the mill. This leads to a higher powder filling level (See
Figure 97).
For this reason smaller media sizes may not always provide the
expected benefits in grinding efficiency, since the negative
influence of a higher hold-up maybe more important than the
benefits of small media sizes.
Figure 97. Influence of Mean Ball Size on Void Filling
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C E M E N T T E C H N O L O G Y N O T E S 2 0 0 5 88
6.8 MILL SIMULATION
Given some understanding of the relationships discussed for mill
circuits it is possible to simulate the mill performance. The
relationships used, include:-
- Influence of separator size or airflow and throughput
on the separator by-pass level
- Relationship between actual feed passing to the
"separating zone" and the total separator feed
- Relationship between product blaine and separator
feed fineness
- Relationship between separator rejects, product and
feed fineness
- Relationship between mill inlet, rejects and fresh
feed fineness
- Relationship between mill performance (kWh/tonne)
and mill inlet and outlet fineness
- Influence of mill throughput on mill hold-up
- Influence of mill hold-up on efficiency of grinding
- Influence of mill feed grindability
With such a model it is possible to assess, to some degree,:-
- Influence of circulating load
- Influence of separator efficiency
- Influence of mill hold-up
6. CEMENT MILLING PERFORMANCE
contents chapter 6 chapter 7

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