3 Mechanical Milling Processes And What Each Does

Mechanical milling is a broadly applied phrase that refers to a few different processes used to grind and/or fuse metals. It was originally developed for the purpose of creating heat-, pressure-, and cold-resistant materials for aeronautics and space exploration materials. Now, these processes have evolved and are used for many other applications.

1. Ball Milling

Ball milling is the original mechanical milling process. Heavy steel balls tumble about inside a machine with various bits of metal or metal alloys to produce fine-grain particles. (Think jumbo rock tumbler, and you get the picture.) The purpose is to create a mixture, or alloy, of fine-grain particles that can then be smelted together to create sheet metal, or added to things like paint in an electroplating paint machine.

2. Metal Alloying

Metal alloying is the mechanical milling process that creates metal alloys with very specific content. One such alloy might contain fifty percent nickel, ten percent aluminum, and forty percent iron. The result is an alloy that is stronger than aluminum, and denser than iron but is more silvery in color than what iron is typically known for. 

In the ball milling machine, these particles are first ground and tumbled together to create a unified distribution of the powdered metals, and then fused or welded in the machine to produce a rough solid version for metal construction.

3. Nano-Milling

With the advancement of nanotechnology, it became necessary to have mechanical milling "shrunk" to fit the technology. This means that the usual machines also shrunk to accommodate these very tiny applications of milling. On this level, the milling process creates crystalline and quasicrystalline materials, which are ideal for nanotechnology development of nanobots and the like. 

This goes beyond just creating metal alloys and/or grinding metals to a fine-grain mix. It takes mechanical milling into an atomic or subatomic world, altering many materials to get the expected crystal or quasi-crystal results.

So, if your company is attempting to produce something that may require one or more of the above processes, you will need to contact a mechanical milling company for metals, and/or a mechanical nano-milling company for nanotech materials. 

Given the nature of these processes, you will find that the processes are not cheap. However, the result is a very high-quality product that easily stands the test of time. It will also stand up to multiple forces of nature.  

For more information, contact your local milling professionals.