A ball mill consists of a hollow cylindrical shell rotating about its axis. The axis of the shell may be either horizontal or at a small angle to the horizontal. It is partially filled with balls. The grinding media are the balls, which may be made of steel, stainless ceramic, or rubber. The inner surface of the cylindrical shell is usually lined with an abrasion-resistant material such as manganese steel or rubber lining. Less wear takes place in rubber lined mills. The length of the mill is approximately equal to its diameter.
In case of continuously operated ball mill, the material to be ground is fed from the left through a 60° cone and the product is discharged through a 30° cone to the right. As the shell rotates, the balls are lifted up on the rising side of the shell and then they cascade down (or drop down on to the feed), from near the top of the shell. In doing so, the solid particles in between the balls and ground are reduced in size by impact.
Ball mills are used for grinding materials such as coal, pigments, and feldspar for pottery. Grinding can be carried out wet or dry, but the former is performed at low speed. Blending of explosives is an example of an application for rubber balls. For systems with multiple components, ball milling has been shown to be effective in increasing solid state chemical reactivity. Additionally, ball milling has been shown effective for production of amorphous materials
A ball mill, a type of grinder, is a cylindrical device used in grinding (or mixing) materials like ores, chemicals, ceramic raw materials and paints.
Ball mills rotate around a horizontal axis, partially filled with the material to be ground plus the grinding medium. Different materials are used as media, including ceramic balls, flint pebbles, and stainless steel balls. An internal cascading effect reduces the material to a fine powder. Industrial ball mills can operate continuously, fed at one end and discharged at the other end. Large to medium-sized ball mills are mechanically rotated on their axis, but small ones normally consist of a cylindrical capped container that sits on two drive shafts (pulleys and belts are used to transmit rotary motion). A rock tumbler functions on the same principle. Ball mills are also used in pyrotechnics and the manufacture of black powder, but cannot be used in the preparation of some pyrotechnic mixtures such as flash powder because of their sensitivity to impact. High-quality ball mills are potentially expensive and can grind mixture particles to as small as 5 mm, enormously increasing surface area and reaction rates.
The grinding works on the principle of critical speed. Critical speed can be understood as that speed after which the steel balls that are responsible for the grinding of particles start rotating along the direction of the cylindrical device, thus causing no further grinding.
Ball mills are used extensively in the mechanical alloying process in which they are used for grinding and for cold welding, producing alloys from powders.
The ball mill is a key piece of equipment for grinding crushed materials, and it is widely used in production lines for powders such as cement, silicates, refractory material, fertilizer, glass ceramics, etc., as well as for ore dressing of ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The ball mill can grind ores and other materials, wet or dry. There are two kinds of ball mills according to their ways of discharging material: grate type, and overfall type. Many types of grinding media are suitable for use in a ball mill, each material having its own specific properties and advantages. Key properties of grinding media are size, density, hardness, and composition.
Ball milling boasts several advantages over other systems: the cost of installation and grinding medium is low; the capacity and fineness can be adjusted by adjusting the diameter of the ball; it is suitable for both batch and continuous operation; it is suitable for open and closed-circuit grinding; it is applicable for materials of all degrees of hardness.