Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Jacob W., Cooper D.R., Gutowski T. and Ramos-Grez J. (2017)

The efficiency of copper ore comminution: A thermodynamic exergy analysis

Revista : Minerals Engineering
Volumen : 109
Páginas : 21-31
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


This study analyzes the exergy efficiency of comminution using a laboratory sized dry ball mill and a coppermineral ore from central Chile. In this research, we develop a minimum work index from uniaxialcompression tests results on the ore fitted to Morrell’s comminution energy equation using Hukki’s constantmineral parameter. An exergy analysis is then performed on a laboratory sized dry ball mill by consideringthe surface energy variation for different ore sizes, the obtained Hukki-Morrell fitted relationshipfrom the compression tests of the ore and the minimum inertial energy required during a dry-ball millingprocess. The theoretical minimum work needed to crush the rock is first calculated by comparing the differencein surface energy between the incoming ore and the outgoing crushed rock. However, this analysis(based on the creation of new surfaces) suggests an impractical low minimum work of little use as abenchmark. Instead, use of the Hukki-Morrell relationship evaluated at the resulting ore particle sizessuggests a practical benchmark. Using this benchmark for the laboratory’s dry ball mill process rendersan efficiency of approximately 3%. One could use the heat from the outgoing crushed ore to, theoreticallyperform work, but the heat flows through at a low temperature that this change would only increase theefficiency to 3.1%. We also consider the inertial energy needed to drive the ball mill employing it as a newbenchmark for our efficiency calculation. The latter raises the efficiency of the dry ball milling to an average23%. Finally, electrical energy measurements and inertial calculations on operating an empty versusloaded ball mill suggest that the efficiency could be increased by ensuring correct machinery scaling(diameter of the drum shell), ball load and a properly maintained transmission system.