Grinding media is a major consumable in mineral processing and therefore decreasing costs associated with its consumption is regularly considered a key goal for the minerals processing industry. Grinding media manufacturers have historically developed steels with improved wear life for their products as a way of delivering incremental media quality improvement. This has included increasing carbon levels from low-to-medium carbon steels up to the eutectoid carbon composition of 0.77% where the relationship between higher carbon and better wear performance is well understood. Producers today will regularly use grades in excess of 0.8% to further improve wear performance particularly for rolled grinding media.
This paper first introduces the demonstrated relationship between this increased carbon content and improved wear resistance along with metallurgical rationale behind the high carbon production process and limitations.
To test the performance improvement associated with the higher carbon steel grade, a series of Marked Ball Wear Tests (MBWT) were carried out. This paper also explores the relationship between ball properties, test methodology and wear performance and concludes by correlating increased carbon grade with a reduced consumption rate of between 3.1% and 6.1% in the tests conducted.
Bovell, M, Bose, R and Cheong, G, 2018. Improved forged grinding media performance with carbon content greater than 1.0%, in Proceedings 14th AusIMM Mill Operators' Conference 2018, pp 559–570 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).