An Investigation into the Influence of Microwave Treatment on Mineral Ore Comminution

SW Kingman, K Jackson, SM Bradshaw, Neil Rowson, Richard Greenwood

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113 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of microwave pre-treatment on mineral ore breakage has been investigated. Samples of lead-zinc ore were microwave pretreated prior to strength testing and change in strength with microwave exposure time determined. Comparisons of change in strength were made between microwave-treated and -untreated material. Using a multimode microwave cavity, it was found that strength could be significantly reduced in 0.5 s when using 15 kW of microwave power. Lower powers in this type of cavity were found to be less effective. Drop weight tests were used to quantify the change in strength in terms of reduction in required comminution energy. Reductions of up to 40% were achieved for particles of mean size 14.53 mm. Preliminary tests in a single-mode microwave cavity gave strength reductions of 50% at 10 kW of microwave power with a residence time of only 0.1 s, indicating that high electric field strength is important in the failure of ore. A preliminary energy balance indicating the benefits of single-mode heating is presented. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-185
Number of pages10
JournalPowder Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • single-mode heating
  • mineral ore comminution
  • multimode microwave cavity


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