• discrete element method;
  • population balance model;
  • batch dry milling;
  • breakage rate parameter;
  • particulate process

A physically based specific breakage rate parameter of the population balance model for batch dry-milling is formulated, which explicitly accounts for the impact energy distribution calculated by the discrete element method (DEM). Preliminary DEM simulations of particle impact tests were first performed, which concluded that dissipation energy should be used in contrast to collision energy to accurately define the impact energy distribution. Subsequently, DEM simulations of the motion of spheres representing silica glass beads in a ball mill were performed to determine the specific breakage rate parameter, which was in good agreement with those found experimentally. An analysis of the impact energy distribution, which was only possible within context of the physically motivated specific breakage rate parameter, emphasized the importance of accounting for a threshold impact energy. Without proper assessment of the impact energy distribution, DEM simulations may lead to an erroneous evaluation of milling experiments. © 2014 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 60: 2404–2415, 2014