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A mineral liberation study of grain boundary fracture based on measurements of the surface exposure after milling

Leißner, T.; Hoang, D.; Rudolph, M.; Heinig, T.; Bachmann, K.; Gutzmer, J.; Schubert, H.; Peuker, U. A.


Minerals can be liberated by random fracture of particles into smaller fragments or by detachment along phase boundaries. These two mechanisms represent borderline cases. When ores get comminuted the liberation of minerals is achieved to some extent by both mechanisms. This article describes a method to determine the extent of transgranular and intergranular fracture based on 2-dimensional analysis of surface exposure of minerals.
The approach uses the unbiased surface information like of phase specific surface area (PSSA), phase specific free surface (PSFS) and phase specific locked surface (PSLS) of minerals and their change with comminution. The parameters are discussed related to the normalized grain size, which is the ratio of mineral grain size in the product to mineral grain size in the unbroken material. Finally, the amount of transgranular and intergranular fracture on surface exposure can be calculated using the phase specific surface parameters.
A sedimentary rock (apatite ore), an igneous rock (nepheline-syenite) and an artificial material (copper slags) were ground to different fineness. Based on the mineral liberation analysis (MLA) of feed and products, the extent of phase boundary fracture on the surface exposure of the minerals is studied.

Keywords: Mineral liberation Analysis; preferential breakage; transgranular fracture; intergranular fracture; random fracture; grain boundary fracture