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Use of diopsidite as a new grinding media for ball mill


In the ceramic industry - ceramic tiles, sanitary ware, color makers, refractories and isolators- raw materials are used in the powder form for body formulations, usually under 0.074 mm diameter. In the milling operation, the efficiency of the process depends on a set of characteristics such as mill design, type of milling media and lining for ball mill, and operational properties. In the particular case of grinding media, plants use flint or silica pebbles and alumina (or zirconia) balls. These grinding media must be free of iron and other coloring content to avoid contamination of the raw material powder. Synthetic balls, such as alumina or zirconia, show better performance due to their higher density and abrasion resistance and control of non-contaminant materials. On the other hand, silica pebbles show lower price and more availability than alumina and are popular in most plants to mill feldspar, quartz, kaolin and clays. However, to mill diopsidite, a new raw material for ceramics, recently introduced in Brazilian ceramic tile plants, traditional ball mill plants don´t get easily it milled under 0.074 mm diameter, leading the production rate fells 50% down or higher. Density of diopside (3,0 -3,3 t/m3) and abrasion resistance would be pointed out as probably two major factors for this milling difficulties. The subject of this project ("Fase 1") is to evaluate the feasibility for the research and development of diopside as a grinding media for ball mills to milling diopside itself as well as feldspar, quartz, clays and other ceramic raw material and industrial minerals. In order to reach the goals the following steps will be done: organizing of project; bibliography and previous studies survey; preparing of field works; field works and sampling; labs studies related to mineralogical, chemical and physical characteristics of materials; labs works and experimental tests on performance of diopside as grinding media for ball mill; and ceramic tests to assess possible contaminations; processing and interpretation of data; preliminary and final report the expected result is to get good answer in terms of performance of the diopsidite as grinding media to continue de researches to develop this material for market in the milling ore industries in the Sao Paulo state, Brazil and foreign industries. (AU)

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