Planetary Ball Mills
Ball mills are used the world over in material processing plants, for grinding and mixing materials using steel, rubber or ceramic grinding media. This uses the forces of impact and friction with balls within the jar to mix ingredients and reduce particle size.
What are planetary ball mills?
While the traditional ball mill is a large cylindrical structure used for making paints, ceramics or building materials, there is also a much smaller looking ‘planetary ball mill’ that works on the same principle and can be used in your laboratory. Planetary ball mills come for smaller quantities, but can be used for pulverizing the feed mixture to high levels of fineness, even up to the nano range. This is achieved by an interplay between friction and impact forces that cause high energy levels to be generated within the machine. This mixes up and breaks down the material and gives very fine results.
How do they work?
The machine has at least one grinding jar that is arranged so that it rotates in the opposite direction of an eccentrically located sun-wheel. Grinding balls within the machine’s grinding jars break down the material that is fed in, into very fine particles using the so-called ‘Coriolis forces’, which are basically forces due to superimposed rotational movements.
Vibrations caused and the solution:
However, such large amounts of energy involved can mean huge vibrations too. Planetary ball mills manufactured today compensate for these with Free Force Compensation Sockets(FFCS). These are especially useful for long-term grindings, and ensure that the machine stays put on the working bench, even if it is left unattended. These sockets are placed in the feet of the machine and are based on d’Alembert’s principle. They allow a small movement of the machine’s outer housing, which in turn allows an automatic compensation of the machine vibrations with its own mass. As a result, the working platform gets a smaller amount of the vibrations through the feet.
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