UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The effect of stirred mill operation on particles breakage mechanism and their morphological features Reem, Adel Roufail


Stirred milling is a grinding tool that is used extensively for mineral liberation, in order to achieve successful downstream processing such as flotation or leaching. The focus of this research is to understand the effect of different operating parameters on particle breakage mechanism. Operating parameters could be summarized as stress intensity on the particles which are varied by changing the mill’s agitator speed, and different ground material properties such as extreme hard/low density minerals like quartz versus soft/high density minerals like galena. Grinding performance is assessed by analysing particle size reduction and energy consumption. Breakage mechanism is evaluated using the state of the art morphological analysis and liberation. Finally, theoretical evaluation of particles flow, types of forces and energy distribution across the mill are investigated using Discrete Element Modelling (DEM). It is observed that breakage mechanisms are affected by the type of mineral and stress intensities (agitator speed) in the mill. For example, galena, the soft/high density mineral, reaches its grinding limit very fast at high agitator speed and specific energy consumption increases exponentially with the increase of the agitator speed. On the other hand, for quartz, the hard/low density mineral, the breakage rate is very slow at low agitator speed and the specific energy consumption increases linearly with the increase of the agitator speed. Fracture mechanism of the particles is also a function of the agitator speed and type of mineral. At high agitator speed, galena fractures mostly along the grain boundaries, whereas quartz breaks across the grains, which is abrasion. The morphology observation is confirmed by the DEM model, which conveyed that at higher agitator speed, the normal forces were higher than tangential forces on the galena particles compared to the ceramic grinding media particles. The core of this research is the morphology analysis, which is a novel approach to studying particle breakage mechanisms. More work is recommended in the field of morphology with other types of minerals to confirm the findings of this research. 3D liberation analysis was introduced in this research; a correlation to the conventional liberation methodology would be a major addition to the industry.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International