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Powdered raw materials usually come from chemical processes where the material in solution chemically reacts to form particles in suspension. An important class is Bayer alumina that starts as bauxite. The Hall Cell fuses the bauxite with the cryolite flux forming a sodium aluminate that is then leached with caustic and washed to produce a moderately pure alumina powder. The powder is agglomerated and then milled for ceramic formulations. Several varieties are available according to crystallite size and purity.

Milling and Equipment 23 Milling Ball milling Usually dry milling is done in a ball mill with a milling media. Ball mills and media are discussed later in this chapter. Portland cement is dry milled commercially using steel balls for efficiency. An Alumina media about three inches in diameter is used for milling white cement where the color has to be controlled. Hard ferrites are also dry milled in air swept ball mills. Bayer aluminas are dry milled by the producer. In the lab, dry milling is not as common since the cost of drying is not a factor.

Dry milling also avoids the formation of hard agglomerates as there is no liquid present. Dry milled ceramics are usually used in pressing operations to make a shape and to consolidate the particles. Crushing and milling are sequential processes for particle size reduction. They will be discussed separately. 22 Ceramic Technology and Processing Crushing Crushing helps reduce the particle size of hard materials to about 80 mesh using Tyler Sieves. After achieving this size reduction, other finer reduction techniques can be used in the lab.

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