However, conventional jet mills have had some drawbacks. For example, in spiral and loop jet mills, the level of fineness that can be achieved depends on the feed rate; higher feed rates produce coarser powders. This forces manufacturers to choose between a high level of throughput or the fineness of grind. In opposed and fluidized bed jet mills, the level of fineness that can be achieved is a function of the classifier tip speed and airflow. However, most classifiers are also limited in their ability to handle high throughput levels at a fine particle size distribution.
Recently, a new high-density bed jet mill* has been introduced that combines the best aspects of spiral jet milling with an advanced air classifier to offer precise particle size control at high throughput levels.
*The NETZSCH-CONDUX(r) Conjet high density bed jet mill, supplied by NETZSCH-CONDUX Maltechnik GmbH, Hanau, Germany, and Netzsch Fine Particle Technology, LLC, Exton, Pa.
Conventional spiral jet mills feature an internal static air classifier that operates on a free vortex principle-i.e., both the feed material and air jets enter the classifier tangentially and are drawn into the classifier by a downstream exhaust fan. Coarse particles, influenced by the mass force (a function of their velocity as they enter the classifier), migrate to the periphery of the spiral jet mill, where they undergo collisions to be reduced in size. Fine particles, which are influenced by the drag force imparted by the fluid, are carried out with the fluid to be conveyed tto a downstream collector.
The only way to decrease the particle size exiting the mill is to increase the force of the air jets, thereby increasing energy consumption, or to decrease the amount of feed material entering the mill, thereby reducing throughput. However, even at lower throughput levels, the resulting particle size distribution is not exact. The higher airflow needed to achieve a smaller particle size often creates additional fines, and some coarse particles are allowed to exit the mill into the product stream.
Increasing the peripheral velocity of the classifier wheel increases the mass force on the particles, rejecting more particles and resulting in a finer fines fraction. Conversely, increasing the airflow through the classifier wheel increases the drag force in the particles, allowing larger particles to pass through and resulting in a coarser fines fraction. An air-purged fines outlet prevents any oversized material from bypassing the classifier wheel, while ground material exits the mill for collection downstream.
The internal classifier wheel in fluidized bed jet mills provides exact, reproducible control of particle size distribution. A load cell controls the bed level in the mill, balancing the incoming feed with product discharge. As a result, internal circulation can be up to 20 times that of the mill throughput.
While the performance of a fluidized bed jet mill is sufficient for many applications, there are some drawbacks that make that technology less than ideal for some materials. For example, a residual quantity of material remains in the mill following each run, which is undesirable with materials that are hazardous, toxic, pyrophoric or of very high value. Additionally, very low-density materials cannot "settle" easily in the upward flow of gas in a fluidized bed jet mill and therefore cannot be processed as efficiently as high-density materials.
Unlike the spiral jet mill, the high-density bed jet mill features an integrated dynamic air classifier that provides exact and reproducible particle size control, similar to the classifier found in the fluidized bed jet mill. However, because of the high concentration of material in the high-density bed, efficiency can be higher than in fluidized bed jet mills, especially when processing low-density materials. Additionally, minimal residual material remains in the mill after a run, resulting in less waste, less storage, safer handling and reduced downtime for cleaning. The mill also features a compact design that requires less floor space, and smaller mill sizes are available that can be easily installed in glovebox or downflow booth.
The high-density bed jet mill provides value-added processing through high product quality, finer particle size distributions, steeper particle size distributions and reproducible results. Compared to a conventional spiral jet mill, the high-density bed design provides fineness independent of product loading, which allows for higher feed rates and a higher capacity and/or reduced specific energy. Compared to a fluidized bed jet mill, the new mill offers more efficient processing of low-density materials, as well as less risk of contamination from residual materials.
With the new jet mill, companies can achieve both a fine particle size and high-throughput grinding.
For more information about the high-density bed jet mill, contact Netzsch Fine Particle Technology, 125 Pickering Way, Exton, PA 19341; (610) 363-8010; fax (610) 280-1299; e-mail email@example.com; or visit http://www.netzchusa.com. NETZSCH-CONDUX Maltechnik GmbH can be reached at (49) 6181-506-01.