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A ball mill is a type of grinder used to grind and blend materials for use in mineral dressing processes, paints, pyrotechnics, ceramics, and selective laser sintering. It works on the principle of impact and attrition: size reduction is done by impact as the balls drop from near the top of the shell. A ball mill consists of a hollow cylindrical shell rotating about its axis. The axis of the shell may be either horizontal or at a small angle to the horizontal. It is partially filled with balls. The grinding media is the balls, which may be made of steel (chrome steel), stainless steel, ceramic, or rubber. The inner surface of the cylindrical shell is usually lined with an abrasion-resistant material such as manganese steel or rubber. Less wear takes place in rubber lined mills. The length of the mill is approximately equal to its diameter. The general idea behind the ball mill is an ancient one, but it was not until the industrial revolution and the invention of steam power that an effective ball milling machine could be built. It is reported to have been used for grinding flint for pottery in 1870.
Ball mills are used extensively in the mechanical alloying process in which they are not only used for grinding but for cold welding as well, with the purpose of producing alloys from powders. The ball mill is a key piece of equipment for grinding crushed materials, and it is widely used in production lines for powders such as cement, silicates, refractory material, fertilizer, glass ceramics, etc. as well as for ore dressing of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals. The ball mill can grind various ores and other materials either wet or dry. There are two kinds of ball mill, grate type and overfall type, due to different ways of discharging material. Many types of grinding media are suitable for use in a ball mill, each material having its own specific properties and advantages.
India is a country with a rich history of the production and use of ball mills. The earliest recorded use of ball mills in India dates back to the 18th century, when they were used for grinding grains and other materials. In the 19th and 20th centuries, ball mills were used for the grinding of a wide range of materials, including minerals, pigments, and cement. Today, ball mills are used for a wide range of applications, including the production of cement, the grinding of coal for power generation, and the production of ceramics.
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