Abrasion is an unavoidable part of mineral processing, especially as coal, quartz and a variety of other mineral ores are ground, crushed and broken down throughout the process. Unsurprisingly, these actions can eventually take a toll on your current equipment.

Components made from ceramic materials offer the right properties needed for long-lasting mineral processing equipment. The following explains in detail why ceramics are the right choice for critical vessels and other components under constant exposure to abrasive minerals.

It's More Durable than Steel

Steel is a very durable material in its own right, with a hardness of 5 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale. Nevertheless, it's not completely immune to the effects of being in continuous contact with abrasive materials. Many of the raw materials and minerals harvested through mineral processing are much harder than the already hard steel. Given enough time and use, even a grinder made from the hardest steel available will eventually break down due to excessive wear and tear.

In contrast, fine ceramic materials such as silicon carbide and zirconia offer superior hardness to a wide variety of metals, including stainless steel. For example, zirconia offers a Vickers hardness value of 12.3, as opposed to stainless steel's hardness value of 5. Silicon carbide offers a hardness value of 22, making it far superior to stainless steel.

It's this durability that allows critical components like cutting tools, bearings and seal rings to last longer under ordinary use. This means that your mineral processing operation can get more value out of its equipment.

It Offers Protection against Corrosion

Corrosion is another problem that plagues mineral processing equipment. Unprotected surfaces are guaranteed to see the effects of oxidation, where constant exposure to moisture, oxygen and the chemical slurry used in the mineral extraction process causes iron and most alloys to create rust and corrosion. Even surfaces treated with a protective coating can be rendered vulnerable once that coating is worn off under contact with abrasive mineral ores.

Stainless steel is more resistant to rust due to its natural chromium oxide coating, which works to block further contact between the bare metal underneath and the moisture and oxygen-laden environment. However, normal mineral processing can easily wear away this protective coating, leaving stainless steel just as vulnerable to corrosion as ordinary steel.

Ceramic linings solve this problem by placing an effective barrier of ceramic tile between the bare metal of your processing equipment and the materials that would normally come into contact with it. By nature, fine ceramics are invulnerable to the effects of corrosion, making them ideal for use in mineral processing operations where heavy use of processing chemicals are involved. Ceramic tile can also be paired with a rubber backing that further isolates abrasive mineral ores and corrosion-causing chemical slurry from the metal portions of your mineral processing equipment.

It's Cost Effective over the Long Run

Production slowdowns and work stoppages can become commonplace as your mineral processing equipment deteriorates with time and use. The consequences of these actions become even more apparent as worn-down components are replaced with increased frequency. Not only do you lose productivity through constant stoppages for repairs and replacement, but you'll also lose profits.

Fortunately, the unique wear properties of ceramic mineral processing components translate into longer component durability and longevity. In turn, this increase in the overall lifespan of your mineral processing equipment translates into less capital being unnecessarily expended on frequent maintenance and repairs.

Less-frequent repairs and replacement of critical components mean fewer shutdowns and increases in worker productivity, which in turn often means improved profitability and an improved bottom line for your company.

As you can see from the points discusses in this article, ceramics are a great option for your mineral handling equipment. For more information, contact a local ceramic fabrications company like Ceramic Technology Inc.