The contribution of DEM to the science of comminution
Journal article, 2013
The ability to model comminution techniques has been key in the mineral processing industry and other industries where size reduction of rocks is a key focus. With the need for more accurate and sophisticated models, the introduction of computational models like the discrete element method (DEM) has started to solve some of the complex problems in comminution. This review article provides a general, though not exhaustive, overview of the application of computational techniques to the science of comminution.
Over the last two decades the DEM has become an important tool for understanding comminution fundamentals and providing information for the design, optimisation and operation of comminution devices. Over that time, the application of DEM in simulating fracture, breakage, crushing, milling and equipment wear has increased in size and complexity. Information from DEM has contributed to modelling techniques like, mechanistic modelling, the Unified Comminution Model and the Virtual Comminution Machine. These have enabled step changes in understanding of comminution processes. DEM is now widely used in industries where comminution is critical.
Important challenges remain for the next decade including representation of unresolved fine material: prediction of its influence on the overall processes and its size reduction. Similarly, slurry phase transport and rheology have barely been touched on in using computational techniques in comminution modelling. Most importantly in the future is the uptake of the DEM outputs into standard comminution models used in design and optimisation of equipment and processes, as despite the progress made in understanding and in quantitative outputs the barriers to routine uptake have not been surmounted.
Liner wear modelling