Reduced grinding time

Effect of microwave heat treatment on the grindability of zircon in a planetary ball mill

Summary: This paper deals with the microwave heat treatment effect on the grinding of zircon in a planetary ball mill for zirflor production. The results of the investigations reveal that the grindability characteristics of zircon samples, which have been heat treated by using both a microwave sintering furnace as well as a conventional muffle furnace followed by thermal shock treatment show a significant saving in grinding time compared to an un­treated zircon sample. This is due to the fact that a thermal shock treated sample contains a few micro-cracks and fractures by which the grinding performance has been improved in a planetary ball mill.

1 Introduction

Zircon is used in industry in a wide range of applications, as zircon sand directly from the mine; as a milled product in the form of zircon flour (95 % micronized to < 45 µm used in the manufacturing of frit) and opacifier grade (100 % micronized to < 6 µm, used in ceramic glazes for tiles and sanitary wares) [1]. The grinding of zircon, especially placer zircon mineral concentrate, to below 6 µm or even to 45 µm size is an energy intensive process with different types of medium to produce the finest zircon powder.

The grinding of zircon is generally carried out using jet mills...

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