The effects of ball size distribution on attritor efficiency

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


A study was undertaken to determine how media dynamics are altered when differently sized grinding balls are used in an attritor. Cinematographic techniques identify the extent of segregation/mixing of the differently sized balls within the attritor as a function of impeller rotational velocity and small ball number fraction. This permits determination of rotational velocities needed to most efficiently use the tactic of milling with differently sized media. Cinematographic observations show that the close-packed media array, assumed when balls of the same size are used for milling, is disrupted when differently sized balls are used. Monitoring powder particle numbers as a function of milling time for the situations when the same and differently sized balls are used can be used to assess relative milling efficiencies. Results indicate powder deformation, fracture, and welding are enhanced through employment of differently sized balls. This conclusion is reinforced by observations of microstructural characteristics of powder processed with the different type of media.

Publication Title

Metallurgical and Materials Transactions A