Effects of loading mechanisms and texture on ore breakage – A multidimensional study

Sammanfattning:  In comminution machines, the product properties (particle size distribution, mineral liberation characteristics) and process consumables (energy for size reduction, wear) are affected by various parameters. On the one hand, understanding and optimizing these parameters can provide an energy efficient process and a specified product. On the other hand, a fundamental understanding of the breakage process can even be used for designing new or improved comminution machines. In this thesis, breakage fundamentals are analyzed and set against the principles of various comminution machines. The study of the breakage fundamentals is crucial for a better understanding of the effect of different comminution environments on ore types and their textures in order to achieve a desired product size and liberation. This work defines three main areas of breakage processes with breakage fundamentals, namely “loading mechanism”, “breakage mechanism” and “breakage mode”. The “loading mechanism” is defined as the physical action that is applied to a particle or several particles in order to introduce mechanical stress. The resulting pattern of the particle failure is named “breakage mechanism”. Finally, the “breakage mode” defines the particle breakage in terms of being random or non‐random. Non‐random breakage depends on the ore texture, which can be categorized as preferential breakage and phase boundary breakage. Promoting the breakage mode to the phase boundary breakage could help to increase the liberation degree. Various studies have assessed the effect of ore texture and operational parameters on mineral liberation. While ore texture is related to the particle inherent characteristics, operational conditions such as loading mechanism are related to the comminution environment. In all these investigations, little attempt has been made to explore the combined effects of loading mechanism and quantitative ore texture features on breakage mode and mineral liberation. In addition, a lack of fundamental understanding of the breakage process and mineral liberation can be seen. Accordingly, a more fundamental study of the causes behind the effects of loading mechanism and texture is required in order to optimize the comminution process in terms of mineral liberation. The objective of this work is, therefore, to investigate the effects of different loading mechanisms on particle breakage and breakage mode. In order to achieve this goal, work has started with using two methods including three‐dimensional deformation and two‐dimensional crack quantification. The former method involved X‐ray computed micro‐tomography (XCT) imaging and Digital Volume Correlation (DVC) measurements which determiners the breakage mode in terms of being random or non-random. Whereas the latter was done using an image processing code in MATLAB to quantify cracks in terms of random and non-random breakage (preferential or phase boundary) from Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) images. In addition, XCT 3D imaging was used in order to track the propagated cracks in the third dimension. Moreover, phase boundary breakage in magnetite grains was studied qualitatively based on optical microscopy images in order to identify and characterize the propagated cracks.