University of Oulu

Ari Ämmälä, Tiina M. Pääkkönen, Mirja Illikainen, Role of screen plate design in the performance of a rotor impact mill in fine grinding of biomass, Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 122, 15 October 2018, Pages 384-391, ISSN 0926-6690,

Role of screen plate design in the performance of a rotor impact mill in fine grinding of biomass

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Author: Ämmälä, Ari1; Pääkkönen, Tiina M.1; Illikainen, Mirja1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2018
Publish Date: 2018-06-26


The role of rotor impact mill screen plate design in biomass grinding has attracted limited interest. This study aimed to clarify the effect of operational parameters and various screen designs on the fine grinding of Sphagnum moss. Contoured screens having forward (rasp) and backward (inverse rasp) inclined trapezoidal apertures of nominal sizes 0.2, 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 mm were studied. A smooth screen plate having circular perforations (0.5 mm) was used as a reference. Flow phenomena were modeled with Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) using 2D geometry for the screen apertures.

Product particle size and capacity were mostly dependent on the equivalent diameter of the screen apertures together with rotor frequency and also on the screen design, while the aspect ratio was solely a function of particle size. Among the screens having nominal sizes of 0.3, 0.4, and 0.5 mm, the smooth screen produced the smallest particle size; followed by the rasp screens and the inverse rasp screens. The smooth screen had higher capacity than the rasp or inverse rasp screens, and a narrower operating range. In the case of 0.2 mm apertures, higher capacity was achieved with the inverse rasp than with the rasp screen. The net energy consumption (SEC) of grinding with the rasp screens was at a lower level than with the inverse rasp screens (or the smooth screen). No difference was seen in the case of the smallest size apertures, however.

The results, supported by CFD modeling, indicate that the incidence angle of particles does not explain the passage of particles through screen apertures. The passage is affected by the flow patterns above and within the apertures, and the pressure difference over the screen plate. The eddies within the apertures reduce their effective open area, resulting in product particles much smaller than the aperture size. When the aperture inclination is toward the tangential flow (rasp), an eddy is also generated in front of the aperture that turns the flow perpendicular to the screen surface within the aperture. In contrast, when the aperture inclination is against the tangential flow (inverse rasp), an eddy is generated above the aperture that guides the flow smoothly into the aperture, although the flow has to make a U-turn first. A design of inverse rasps seems to be beneficial when very small apertures are used, as it appears that the eddies formed above the apertures prevent blocking by dislodging accumulated particles. The low SEC with rasp screens does not seem to make the passage of particles through apertures easier, but it does enable more efficient size reduction because of the ability of rasps to serve as a grinding track.

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Series: Industrial crops and products
ISSN: 0926-6690
ISSN-E: 1872-633X
ISSN-L: 0926-6690
Volume: 122
Pages: 384 - 391
DOI: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2018.06.021
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 215 Chemical engineering
Funding: The European Regional Development Fund, Vapo Fibers, and Haarla Oy are gratefully acknowledged for their financial support of this work.
Dataset Reference: Supplementary material related to this article can be found, in the online version, at doi:
Copyright information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (