Acoustic emissions simulation of tumbling mills using charge dynamics

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    Process instrumentationMineral processingSAG milling


    the internal surface of the mill and the acoustic signal measured on the outer surface is measured exper-

    minutiof theandingd the d

    ics of the mill; however, DEM simulations still lack in accuracy. Inaddition, there are ongoing challenges for DEM simulations of tum-bling mills, such as shortcomings in simulating the ne progenyand behaviour of the slurry (Morrison and Cleary, 2008).

    It is known that ball mills undergo strongmechanical vibrations,caused by the impacts and collisions. As a result, they generate aloud noise. Though noise and vibration may be harmful, from the

    1997; Spencer et al., 1999; Tang et al., 2010; Watson, 1985; Zengand Forssberg, 1993). Moreover, there are some dynamic valueswhich play an important role in optimizing the mill performanceand mill design. The shoulder and toe angles are two such exam-ples. Correlating the acoustic/vibration signal with these dynamicfeatures has been much less studied than the relation betweenoperating parameter and the mill sound (Huang et al., 2009;Martins et al., 2006). Considering that the use of acoustic/vibrationsignal is a non-invasive, low cost tool of studying comminutionmachines, there remains room for more studies, specically forindustrial applications.

    Corresponding author.

    Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 14401447

    Contents lists availab


    elsE-mail address: (P. Hosseini).can potentially lead to signicant energy savings. Due to the harshenvironment inside the mills, as well as severe chargecharge andcharge-liner impacts, the use of on-line sensors presents somepractical problems (Martins et al., 2008). An alternative solutionis the use of discrete element models (DEM) to simulate internalmill dynamics and the charge motion (Cleary, 2001; Cleary et al.,2003; Mishra, 2003; Mishra and Rajamani, 1992; Powell andNurick, 1996). Signicant advances in computer technology havehad a role in the growing interest in using DEM to simulate dynam-

    generated sound. The measurement of the sound of the mill bymeans of instrumentation has the benet of full-time on-line oper-ation, increased precision, while having a greater tolerance to per-ilous or harsh working environments (Zeng and Forssberg, 1993).Over recent decades, different studies have been conducted on lab-oratory and industrial scale mills to correlate the acoustic/vibrationsignal with the operating parameters of the mill such as powerdraw, feed rate, mill load, pulp density, ore type and particles sizedistribution (Aldrich and Theron, 2000; Das et al., 2010; Kolacz,1. Introduction

    Tumbling mills are a class of comquently used for the size reductioncessing industry. Better understmechanism of energy utilization, an0892-6875/$ - see front matter 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Adoi:10.1016/j.mineng.2011.07.002imentally. Given this transfer function and the force distribution obtained from the DEM simulation, andassuming a linear time-invariant response, the on-the-shell acoustic of a laboratory scale ball mill hasbeen simulated. Comparison of this simulated signal with the signal measured experimentally can beused as a criterion to judge the validity of the DEM simulations, and as a tool for enhancing our under-standing of both DEM simulations and the use of acoustics within the context of mineral processing. Theresults derived from preliminary experiments on a laboratory scale mill shows satisfactory agreementbetween the actual measurement and the simulated acoustic signal.

    2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    on devices, and are fre-ore in the mineral pro-of the mode and

    ynamics of the charge

    viewpoint of a human operator, and are a waste of the energy, theycan serve as a useful tool in studying the operation of the mills. Theacoustic/vibration signal contains information directly related tothe operating state of the mill and the mill charge dynamics. Anec-dotal evidence has long suggested that a skilled grinding mill oper-ator can evaluate the operating state of the mill by listening to theKeywords:Discreet element modellingSimulation

    odology is developed to simulate on-the-shell acoustic signal emitted from tumbling mills using theinformation extracted from a DEM simulator. The transfer function which links the forces exerted onAcoustic emissions simulation of tumblin

    Poorya Hosseini a,, Sudarshan Martins a, Tristan MaaDepartment of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, CanadabDpartement de gnie informatique et gnie logiciel, cole Polytechnique de Montral,

    a r t i c l e i n f o

    Article history:Received 26 January 2011Accepted 4 July 2011Available online 4 August 2011

    a b s t r a c t

    Knowledge of the internalthe mill, notwithstanding tTo overcome this problem,invasive measurement meAlternatively, virtual instru

    Minerals E

    journal homepage: www.ll rights reserved.mills using charge dynamicsb, Peter Radziszewski a, Francois-Raymond Boyer b


    ables of a mill is of importance in design and performance optimization ofdifculty in measuring these variables within the harsh mill environment.research has focused on measuring the internal parameters through non-s such as the use of the vibration/acoustic signal obtained from the mill.nts, such as discrete element methods (DEM), are employed. Here, a meth-

    le at ScienceDirect


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  • Nomenclature

    p acoustic pressurei impact forceh impulse responseft tangential component of contact forcefn normal component of contact forceK spring coefcient in contact modeldn relative normal displacement at contact~v translational velocity at contactm mass of particlef viscous damping ratio in contact modell sliding friction coefcient~n unit normal vector at the contact pointR radius of particle

    f impact on mill shellF total force acting on mill shelld dirac delta functionG greens FunctionA displacement of mill shellr position vectorrm position vector of microphoneh angular position of impacthm angular position of microphoneu angular difference between impact position and micro-

    phone positiont time

    P. Hosseini et al. /Minerals Engineering 24 (2011) 14401447 1441Through the simulation of the charge motion inside tumblingmills, DEM models calculate distribution and magnitude of forcesand impacts. These forces and impacts engender the vibrations ofthe structure, and are the main cause of the sound signal generatedby the mill. If the relation between these impacts and the acoustic/vibration signal emitted from the mill is known, the vibration/acoustic signal can be simulated using the distribution of impactsextracted from the DEM simulator; such a simulation of acoustic/vibration signal was held to be unworkable in the past (McElroyet al., 2009). Replacement of surface vibration with DEMmodellingallows the implementation of DEMs for soft-sensors design ap-proaches, with the objective of measuring the internal variablesof the mill (McElroy et al., 2009). Furthermore, the comparison be-tween the simulated signal and the signalmeasured experimentallycan be used as a criterion for evaluating validity of DEM simula-tions, and as tool for enhancing our understanding of the dynamicsof the mill. If the inverse approach is taken, it may be possible todetermine dynamic values currently obtained from other methods,such as impacts inside the mill, using only the acoustic/vibrationsignal. Implementing such an approach for a similar application a vibratory ball mill containing a single ball produced promisingresult in the prediction of impact force using the vibration signal(Huang et al., 1997). These so-called inverse techniques have beenextensively used to predict features of mechanical systems whichare difcult or impossible to measure directly. A categorization ofthese techniques for force-prediction models, various appliedexamples and the required theoretical background has been pre-

    sented by Wang (2002). Acoustic signal and vibration signal of

    Fig. 1. Schematic of the labFor the experiment, a laboratory-scale ball mill featuring a camdrive is used, as illustrated in Fig. 1. A large diameter aluminiumdisc is xed to a shaft mounted on a bearing. The aluminium dischas two functions. Firstly, the followers for the cam drive are xedto its face. Secondly, the mill drum (or shell) is bolted to the disc. Atransparent Plexiglas face closes the mill at the free end of thedrum, allowing for the observation of the charge. The drum con-sists of a steel cylinder, with a diameter of 1.524 m and a lengthA brief description of the laboratory-scale ball mill used in theexperiments, the experimental setup used to capture the acousticsignal and to measure impact forces as well as the methodologyimplemented to process the primary measurements are presentedin this section.

    2.1. The laboratory-scale ball millthe mill are highly correlated; however, the acoustic signal is moreof interest, since its measurement is more practical and has the po-tential of being captured through sensors which are not necessarilyattached to the structure. In this paper, as mentioned earlier, it isdemonstrated that an acoustic signal can be calculated from DEMmodels. This simulated acoustic signal will be shown to be compa-rable to the measured acoustic signal.

    2. Experimental setupof 0.3048 m. A set of twelve plates are xed to the inner surface

    oratory scale ball mill.

  • of the shell. These plates are called lifters. Their role is to furtherpromote the tumbling action of the charge, as induced by the rota-tion of the mill. The birch balls, which form the charge, have anaverage diameter of 5.1 cm and an average mass of 43 g.

    2.2. Impulse response measurement

    This section describes the method