Energy-effective Grinding of Inorganic Solids Using Organic Additives


  • Ratan K. Mishra Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Martin Weibel Sika Technology AG Tüffenwies 16, CH-8048 Zurich, Switzerland
  • Thomas Müller Sika Deutschland GmbH Peter-Schuhmacherstr. 8, D-69181 Leimen, Switzerland
  • Hendrik Heinz Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309-0596, USA
  • Robert J. Flatt Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering ETH Zurich, CH-8093 Zurich, Switzerland



Agglomeration energy, Ball mill, Clinker, Comminution, Grinding aids, Molecular dynamics, Polycarboxylate ether (pce), Sieve residue


We present our research findings related to new formulations of the organic additives (grinding aids) needed for the efficient grinding of inorganic solids. Even though the size reduction phenomena of the inorganic solid particles in a ball mill is purely a physical process, the addition of grinding aids in milling media introduces a complex physicochemical process. In addition to further gain in productivity, the organic additive helps to reduce the energy needed for grinding, which in the case of cement clinker has major environmental implications worldwide. This is primarily due to the tremendous amounts of cement produced and almost 30% of the associated electrical energy is consumed for grinding. In this paper, we examine the question of how to optimize these grinding aids linking molecular insight into their working mechanisms, and also how to design chemical additives of improved performance for industrial comminution.




How to Cite

R. K. Mishra, M. Weibel, T. Müller, H. Heinz, R. J. Flatt, Chimia 2017, 71, 451, DOI: 10.2533/chimia.2017.451.