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Materials are rarely found in the size range required, and it is often necessary either to
decrease or to increase the particle size. When, for example, the starting material is too
coarse, and possibly in the form of large rocks, and the =inal product needs to be a =ine
powder, the particle size will have to be progressively reduced in stages. The most
appropriate type of machine at each stage depends, not only on the size of the feed and
of the product, but also on such properties as compressive strength, brittleness and
stickiness. For example, the =irst stage in the process may require the use of a large jaw
crusher and the =inal stage a sand grinder, two machines of very different characters.
In the materials processing industry, size reduction or comminution is usually carried
out in order to increase the surface area because, in most reactions involving solid
particles, the rate of reactions is directly proportional to the area of contact with a
second phase. Thus the rate of combustion of solid particles is proportional to the area
presented to the gas, though a number of secondary factors may also be involved. For
example, the free =low of gas may be impeded because of the higher resistance to =low
of a bed of small particles. In leaching, not only is the rate of extraction increased by
virtue of the increased area of contact between the solvent and the solid, but the
distance the solvent has to penetrate into the particles in order to gain access to the
more remote pockets of solute is also reduced. This factor is also important in the
drying of porous solids, where reduction in size causes both an increase in area and a
reduction in the distance the moisture must travel within the particles in order to
reach the surface. In this case, the capillary forces acting on the moisture are also
There are a number of other reasons for carrying out size reduction. It may, for
example, be necessary to break a material into very small particles in order to separate
two constituents, especially where one is dispersed in small isolated pockets. In
addition, the properties of a material may be considerably in=luenced by the particle
size and, for example, the chemical reactivity of =ine particles is greater than that of
coarse particles, and the colour and covering power of a pigment is considerably
affected by the size of the particles. In addition, far more intimate mixing of solids can
be achieved if the particle size is small.
Mechanism of size reduction
Whilst the mechanism of the process of size reduction is extremely complex, in recent
years a number of attempts have been made at a more detailed analysis of the problem.
If a single lump of material is subjected to a sudden impact, it will generally break so as
to yield a few relatively large particles and a number of =ine particles, with relatively
few particles of intermediate size. If the energy in the blow is increased, the larger
particles will be of a rather smaller size and more numerous and, whereas the number
of =ine particles will be appreciably increased, their size will not be much altered. It

therefore appears that the size of the =ine particles is closely connected with the
internal structure of the material, and the size of the larger particles is more closely
connected with the process by which the size reduction is effected.
This effect is well illustrated by a series of experiments on the grinding of coal in a
small mill, carried out by HEYWOOD. The results are shown in Figure 1, in which the
distribution of particle size in the product is shown as a function of the number of

Figure 1. Effect of progressive grinding on size distribution

revolutions of the mill. The initial size distribution shows a single mode corresponding
to a relatively coarse size, but as the degree of crushing is gradually increased this
mode progressively decreases in magnitude and a second mode develops at a
particular size. This process continues until the =irst mode has completely disappeared.
Here the second mode is characteristic of the material and is known as the persistent
mode, and the =irst is known as the transitory mode. There appears to be a grind limit
for a particular material and machine. After some time there seems to be little change
in particle size if grinding is continued, though the particles may show some
irreversible plastic deformation which results in a change in shape rather than in size.
The energy required to effect size reduction is related to the internal structure of the
material and the process consists of two parts, =irst opening up any small =issures
which are already present, and secondly forming new surface. A material such as coal
contains a number of small cracks and tends =irst to break along these, and therefore
the large pieces are broken up more readily than the small ones. Since a very much
greater increase in surface results from crushing a given quantity of =ine as opposed to
coarse material, =ine grinding requires very much more power. Very =ine grinding can
be impeded by the tendency of some relatively soft materials, including gypsum and
some limestones, to form aggregates. These are groups of relatively weakly adhering
particles held together by cohesive and van der Waals forces. Materials, such as quartz

and clinker, form agglomerates in which the forces causing adhesion may be chemical
in nature, and the bonds are then very much stronger.
In considering energy utilisation, size reduction is a very inef=icient process and only
between 0.1 and 2.0 per cent of the energy supplied to the machine appears as
increased surface energy in the solids. The ef=iciency of the process is very much
in=luenced by the manner in which the load is applied and its magnitude. In addition
the nature of the force exerted is also very important depending, for example, on
whether it is predominantly a compressive, an impact or a shearing force. If the applied
force is insuf=icient for the elastic limit to be exceeded, and the material is compressed,
energy is stored in the particle. When the load is removed, the particle expands again
to its original condition without doing useful work. The energy appears as heat and no
size reduction is effected. A somewhat greater force will cause the particle to fracture,
however, and in order to obtain the most effective utilisation of energy the force should
be only slightly in excess of the crushing strength of the material. The surface of the
particles will generally be of a very irregular nature so that the force is initially taken
on the high spots, with the result that very high stresses and temperatures may be set
up locally in the material. As soon as a small amount of breakdown of material takes
place, the point of application of the force alters. BEMROSE and BRIDGEWATER and
HESS and SCHO NERT have studied the breakage of single particles. All large lumps of
material contain cracks and size reduction occurs as a result of crack propagation that
occurs above a critical parameter, F, where:

where: a = crack length,

= stress, and

Y = Youngs modulus.

Although it is impossible to estimate accurately the amount of energy required in order
to effect a size reduction of a given material, a number of empirical laws have been
proposed. The two earliest laws are due to KICK and VON RITTINGER, and a third law

due to BOND has also been proposed. These three laws may all be derived from the
basic differential equation:

which states that the energy dE required to effect a small change dL in the size of unit
mass of material is a simple power function of the size. If p = 2, then integration gives:

Writing C = KRfc, where fc is the crushing strength of the material, then Rittingers law,
=irst postulated in 1867, is obtained as:

Since the surface of unit mass of material is proportional to 1/L, the interpretation of
this law is that the energy required for size reduction is directly proportional to the
increase in surface.

If p = 1, then:

and , writing C = KK fc :

which is known as Kick s law. This supposes that the energy required is directly
related to the reduction ratio L1/L2 which means that the energy required to crush a
given amount of material from a 50 mm to a 25 mm size is the same as that required to
reduce the size from 12 mm to 6 mm. In equations (3) and (4), KR and KK are known
respectively as Rittingers constant and Kicks constant. It may be noted that neither of
these constants is dimensionless.
Neither of these two laws permits an accurate calculation of the energy requirements.
Rittingers law is applicable mainly to that part of the process where new surface is
being created and holds most accurately for =ine grinding where the increase in surface
per unit mass of material is large. Kicks law, more closely relates to the energy
required to effect elastic deformation before fracture occurs, and is more accurate than
Rittingers law for coarse crushing where the amount of surface produced is
considerably less.
Bond has suggested a law intermediate between Rittingers and Kicks laws, by putting
p = 3/2 in equation (1). Thus:


the reduction ratio. Writing C = 5Ei , then:

Bond terms Ei the work index, and expresses it as the amount of energy required to
reduce unit mass of material from an in=inite particle size to a size L2 of 100 m, that is
q = . The size of material is taken as the size of the square hole through which 80 per
cent of the material will pass. Expressions for the work index are given in the original
papers for various types of materials and various forms of size reduction equipment.

A crusher is a machine designed to reduce large rocks into smaller rocks, gravel, or
rock dust.
Crushers may be used to reduce the size, or change the form, of waste materials so they
can be more easily disposed of or recycled, or to reduce the size of a solid mix of raw
materials (as in rock ore), so that pieces of different composition can be differentiated.
Crushing is the process of transferring a force ampli=ied by mechanical advantage
through a material made of molecules that bond together more strongly, and resist
deformation more, than those in the material being crushed do. Crushing devices hold
material between two parallel or tangent solid surfaces, and apply suf=icient force to
bring the surfaces together to generate enough energy within the material being
crushed so that its molecules separate from (fracturing), or change alignment in
relation to (deformation), each other. The earliest crushers were hand-held stones,
where the weight of the stone provided a boost to muscle power, used against a stone
anvil. Querns and mortars are types of these crushing devices.

TYPES OF CRUSHERS1. The Dodge jaw crusher

In the Dodge crusher, shown in Figure 2, the moving jaw is pivoted at the bottom. The
minimum movement is thus at the bottom and a more uniform product is obtained,
although the crusher is less widely used because of its tendency to choke. The large
opening at the top enables it to take very large feed and to effect a large size reduction.
This crusher is usually made in smaller sizes than the Stag crusher, because of the high
=luctuating stresses that are produced in the members of the machine. In the Dodge
type jaw crushers, the jaws are farther apart at the top than at the bottom, forming a
tapered chute so that the material is crushed progressively smaller and smaller as it
travels downward until it is small enough to escape from the bottom opening. The
Dodge jaw crusher has a variable feed area and a =ixed discharge area which leads to
choking of the crusher and hence is used only for laboratory purposes and not for
heavy duty operations.

Figure 2. Dodge crusher

2. Gyratory crusherA gyratory crusher is similar in basic concept to a jaw crusher, consisting of a concave
surface and a conical head; both surfaces are typically lined with manganese steel
surfaces. The inner cone has a slight circular movement, but does not rotate; the
movement is generated by an eccentric arrangement. As with the jaw crusher, material
travels downward between the two surfaces being progressively crushed until it is
small enough to fall out through the gap between the two surfaces.
A gyratory crusher is one of the main types of primary crushers in a mine or ore
processing plant. Gyratory crushers are designated in size either by the gape and
mantle diameter or by the size of the receiving opening. Gyratory crushers can be used
for primary or secondary crushing. The crushing action is caused by the closing of the
gap between the mantle line (movable) mounted on the central vertical spindle and the
concave liners (=ixed) mounted on the main frame of the crusher. The gap is opened
and closed by an eccentric on the bottom of the spindle that causes the central vertical
spindle to gyrate. The vertical spindle is free to rotate around its own axis. The crusher
illustrated is a short-shaft suspended spindle type, meaning that the main shaft is
suspended at the top and that the eccentric is mounted above the gear. The short-shaft
design has superseded the long-shaft design in which the eccentric is mounted below
the gear.
The gyratory crusher shown in Figure 3 employs a crushing head, in the form of a
truncated cone, mounted on a shaft, the upper end of which is held in a =lexible
bearing, whilst the lower end is driven eccentrically so as to describe a circle. The
crushing action takes place round the whole of the cone and, since the maximum
movement is at the

Figure 3. Gyratory crusher

bottom, the characteristics of the machine are similar to those of the Stag crusher. As
the crusher is continuous in action, the =luctuations in the stresses are smaller than in
jaw crushers and the power consumption is lower. This unit has a large capacity per

unit area of grinding surface, particularly if it is used to produce a small size reduction.
It does not, however, take such a large size of feed as a jaw crusher, although it gives a
rather =iner and more uniform product. Because the capital cost is high, the crusher is
suitable only where large quantities of material are to be handled.
The jaw crushers and the gyratory crusher all employ a predominantly compressive

3. Blake CrusherThe Blake crusher was patented by Eli Whitney Blake in 1858. The Blake type jaw
crusher has a =ixed feed area and a variable discharge area. Blake crushers are of two
types- single toggle and double toggle jaw crushers.
In the single toggle jaw crushers, the swing jaw is suspended on the eccentric shaft
which leads to a much more compact design than that of the double toggle jaw crusher.
The swing jaw, suspended on the eccentric, undergoes two types of motion- swing
motion towards the =ixed jaw due to the action of toggle plate and vertical movement
due the rotation of the eccentric. These both motions, when combined, lead to an
elliptical jaw motion. This motion is useful as it assists in pushing the particles through
the crushing chamber. This phenomena leads to higher capacity of the single toggle jaw
crushers but it also results in higher wear of the crushing jaws. These type of jaw
crushers are preferred for the crushing of softer particles.
In the double toggle jaw crushers, the oscillating motion of the swing jaw is caused by
the vertical motion of the pitman. The pitman moves up and down. The swing jaw
closes, i.e., it moves towards the =ixed jaw when the pitman moves upward and opens
during the downward motion of the pitman. This type is commonly used in mines due
to its ability to crush tough and abrasive materials.

Figure 4. Blake Crusher

4. The ball mill

In its simplest form, the ball mill consists of a rotating hollow cylinder, partially =illed
with balls, with its axis either horizontal or at a small angle to the horizontal. The
material to be ground may be fed in through a hollow trunnion at one end and the
product leaves through a similar trunnion at the other end. The outlet is normally
covered with a coarse screen to prevent the escape of the balls. Figure 5 shows a
section of an example of the Hardinge ball mill which is also discussed later in this
The inner surface of the cylinder is usually lined with an abrasion-resistant material
such as manganese steel, stoneware or rubber. Less wear takes place in rubber-lined
mills, and the coef=icient of friction between the balls and the cylinder is greater than
with steel or stoneware linings. The balls are therefore carried further in contact with
the cylinder and thus drop on to the feed from a greater height. In some cases, lifter
bars are =itted to the inside of the cylinder. Another type of ball mill is used to an
increasing extent, where the mill is vibrated instead of being rotated, and the rate of
passage of material is controlled by the slope of the mill.

Figure 5. Cut-away view of the Hardinge conical ball mill showing how energy is proportioned to the work

The ball mill is used for the grinding of a wide range of materials, including coal,
pigments, and felspar for pottery, and it copes with feed up to about 50 mm in size. The
ef=iciency of grinding increases with the hold-up in the mill, until the voids between the
balls are =illed. Further increase in the quantity then lowers the ef=iciency.
The balls are usually made of =lint or steel and occupy between 30 and 50 per cent of
the volume of the mill. The diameter of ball used will vary between 12 mm and 125
mm and the optimum diameter is approximately proportional to the square root of the

size of the feed, with the proportionality constant being a function of the nature of the
During grinding, the balls wear and are constantly replaced by new ones so that the
mill contains balls of various ages, and hence of various sizes. This is advantageous
since the large balls deal effectively with the feed and the small ones are responsible
for giving a =ine product. The maximum rate of wear of steel balls, using very abrasive
materials, is about 0.3 kg/Mg of material for dry grinding, and 11.5 kg/Mg for wet
grinding. The normal charge of balls is about 5 Mg/m3. In small mills where very =ine
grinding is required, pebbles are often used in place of balls.

In the compound mill, the cylinder is divided into a number of compartments by

vertical perforated plates. The material =lows axially along the mill and can pass from
one compartment to the next only when its size has been reduced to less than that of
the perforations in the plate. Each compartment is supplied with balls of a different
size. The large balls are at the entry end and thus operate on the feed material, whilst
the small balls come into contact with the material immediately before it is discharged.
This results in economical operation and the formation of a uniform product. It also
gives an improved residence time distribution for the material, since a single stage ball
mill approximates closely to a completely mixed system.
In wet grinding the power consumption is generally about 30 per cent lower than that
for dry grinding and, additionally, the continuous removal of product as it is formed is
facilitated. The rheological properties of the slurry are important and the performance
tends to improve as the apparent viscosity increases, reaching an optimum at about 0.2
Pa.s. At very high volumetric concentrations (ca. 50 volume per cent), the =luid may
exhibit shear-thickening behaviour or have a yield stress, and the behaviour may then
be adversely affected.
Advantages of the ball mill-
(i) The mill may be used wet or dry although wet grinding facilitates the removal of
the product.
(ii) The costs of installation and power are low.
(iii) The ball mill may be used with an inert atmosphere and therefore can be used
for the grinding of explosive materials.
(iv) The grinding medium is cheap.
(v) The mill is suitable for materials of all degrees of hardness.
(vi) It may be used for batch or continuous operation.
(vii) It may be used for open or closed circuit grinding. With open circuit grinding, a
wide range of particle sizes is obtained in the product. With closed circuit
grinding, the use of an external separator can be obviated by continuous
removal of the product by means of a current of air or through a screen.