Influence of Agitator Shape on Characteristics and Grinding Efficiency of Attritor Mill

Chenzuo Ye, Yutaro Takaya, Yuki Tsunazawa, Kazuhiro Mochidzuki, Chiharu Tokoro*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Grinding is a unit of operation of a pure mechanical process. An attritor is a grinder able to be used for fine or selective grinding. However, few studies have reported on the optimum design for the attritor. The attritor’s grinding characteristics and grinding effect depend not only on the operating conditions, but also on the geometry of the agitator. Therefore, we investigated the effect of the agitator shape on the grinding efficiency from the viewpoint of experiments, kinetic analysis, and discrete element method (DEM) simulations. We conducted grinding experiments with two different agitators. One was Agitator A, a traditional design with two pairs of 90 staggered mixing arms at the middle and bottom of the mixing shaft. The other was Agitator B, with a lower mixing arm inclined by 10 along the horizontal direction. We found that the grinding rate constant of Agitator B was approximately 40% greater than that of Agitator A. Although the size distribution of the particles was relatively dispersed after grinding with Agitator B, the distribution was concentrated mainly within two ranges (<0.5 mm and 2–4 mm) with Agitator A. These results and an elemental analysis of each size fraction suggested that the dominating grinding mode in Agitator A was surface grinding, whereas in Agitator B, it was bulk grinding. In terms of the influence of the agitator shape, the DEM simulation results showed that the kinetic energy of the grinding media in Agitator B was 0.0046 J/s, i.e., larger than the 0.0035 J/s obtained for Agitator A. A collision energy analysis showed that the dominating collision was between the media and wall in the tangential direction for both models. The collision energy of the media in Agitator B was larger than that of that in Agitator A. The results from the DEM simulation can help us evaluate the experimental results and infer the reasons why the grinding rate constant in Agitator B is larger than that in Agitator A.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-765
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Automation Technology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov


  • DEM simulation
  • agitator shape
  • attritor mill
  • grinding kinetics
  • photovoltaic panel recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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