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What is the smallest grain size achievable (both theoretical and practical) using mechanical methods to crush a fracturable mineral composed primarily of a single molecular species? Example minerals include: calcium carbonate minerals such as limestone or chalk; silicon dioxide minerals (quartz, sand); diamond (carbon); sapphire (aluminum oxide).

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  • $\begingroup$ Do you mean average grain size? $\endgroup$ – Jonathan R Swift May 29 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ @JonathanRSwift: Yes and no. For the 'practical' part, average grain size is what I would expect to see, but for the 'theoretical' part, it seems to me that would imply finding a 'lower limit' in grain size, and that would not be an average. $\endgroup$ – OneMug May 29 at 5:56
  • $\begingroup$ The minerals at the McArthur River mine, in Australia are generally 6 microns in size. The requirement for such fine grinding delayed project development for nearly 50 years. The initial developing company needed to utilize grinding techniques used by the cosmetics industry. $\endgroup$ – Fred May 29 at 10:36

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