Incremental damage and particle size reduction in a pilot SAG mill: DEM breakage method extension and validation

G. W. Delaney, P.W. Cleary, R.D. Morrison
Minerals Engineering
breakage, comminution, dem, Incremental damage, SAG mill, validation

Applying DEM to prediction of tumbling mill performance is challenging because several different modes of breakage are active in the process. Here we use measured data from a well characterised ore in a well instrumented, 1.2 m diameter pilot scale mill to validate direct DEM prediction of particle size reduction. The key comminution mechanisms involved for a SAG mill are: (1) incremental breakage where parent particles break into progeny based on the cumulative energy absorption above the elastic damage threshold, (2) abrasion, and (3) chipping/rounding due to preferential contact and breakage of corners and edges of non-round particles. In this paper, a method for including incremental damage breakage in DEM is presented. The inclusion of all the size reduction mechanisms in the same DEM framework allows direct prediction of the evolution of the resident rock particle size and shape distributions and the product throughput rate. The surface mass loss mechanisms are shown to be critical for reducing the particle size to the point where the accumulation of incremental damage becomes significant leading to body breakage of these damaged particles. The energy split between ball and rock is also important for exceeding the elastic threshold and creating damage. Comparison of the predicted particle sizes at the completion of ten minutes of grinding operation with the measured experimental values from the pilot mill provides quantitative validation of the breakage predictions of this DEM breakage model.

Keywords: Comminution, Incremental damage, SAG mill, DEM, Breakage, Validation,

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