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Grinding - Ball Mills


Ball Mills
What Are These Machines and How Do They Work?

Short flash video at bottom of page showing batch ball mill grinding in lab.
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A Ball Mill grinds material by rotating a cylinder with steel grinding balls, causing the balls to fall back into the cylinder and onto the material to be ground. The rotation is usually between 4 to 20 revolutions per minute, depending upon the diameter of the mill. The larger the diameter, the slower the rotation. If the peripheral speed of the mill is too great, it begins to act like a centrifuge and the balls do not fall back, but stay on the perimeter of the mill.

The point where the mill becomes a centrifuge is called the "Critical Speed", and ball mills usually operate at 65% to 75% of the critical speed.

Ball Mills are generally used to grind material 1/4 inch and finer, down to the particle size of 20 to 75 microns. To achieve a reasonable efficiency with ball mills, they must be operated in a closed system, with oversize material continuously being recirculated back into the mill to be reduced. Various classifiers, such as screens, spiral classifiers, cyclones and air classifiers are used for classifying the discharge from ball mills.




This formula calculates the critical speed of any ball mill. Most ball mills operate most efficiently between 65% and 75% of their critical speed.


Photo of a 10 Ft diameter by 32 Ft long ball mill in a Cement Plant.

Photo of a series of ball mills in a Copper Plant, grinding the ore for flotation.

Image of cut away ball mill, showing material flow through typical ball mill.




Flash viedo of Jar Drive and Batch Ball Mill grinding ore for testing




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