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Improved Grindability of Taconite Ores by Microwave Heating
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  • Description:
    The U.S. Bureau of Mines has conducted studies to utilize rapid microwave heating to stress fracture ore samples. Iron ores containing hematite, magnetite, and goethite were subjected to microwave energy in batch operations at 3 kW and heated to average maximum temperatures between 840 and 940 °C. Standard Bond grindability tests showed that microwave heating reduced the work index of iron ores by 10 to 24 pct. In a microwave chamber designed to simulate a continuous throughput operation at 3 kW, the grindability of a taconite ore was improved by 13 pct at a bulk temperature of 197 °C. Because stress cracking occurred at a lower temperature, less energy was consumed. To further improve the economics of microwave fracturing, higher powers up to 16 kW were used to rapidly heat samples to relatively low temperatures in a continuous, belt-fed applicator. A significant improvement of grindability was obtained with a larger rod mill feed size in comparison to a minus 6-mesh Bond feed.

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