AskDefine | Define comminute

Dictionary Definition

comminute v : reduce to small pieces or particles by pounding or abrading; "grind the spices in a mortar"; "mash the garlic" [syn: grind, mash, crunch, bray]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. To pulverize; to smash.
  2. (injury) To cause fragmentation of bone, an intense skull fracture.
  3. To break into smaller portions.

Extensive Definition

Comminution is one of the four main groups of mechanical processing and describes the movement of the particle size distribution (grains, drops, bubbles) into a range of finer particle sizes (The other groups are agglomeration, separation and mixing).
Everyone knows comminution out of his daily life as methods like cutting, crushing, grinding and rasping are used to reduce the size of different foods.
Industrial applications are for example in the mineral processing (extraction of raw materials), chemical and ceramic industry, cement production, production of food or in the processing of waste.
In most of the cases the word comminution is used in combination with solids. Depending on the feed particle size it is distinguished between crushing (coarse feed material, bigger than appr. 50 to 100 mm) and grinding. Machines for comminution are jaw crusher, cone and gyratory crusher, roller crusher, impact crusher, tube mills (e.g. ball mills or autogenous mills), vertical roller mills, roller presses and others.


Comminution is a group of mineral processing techniques used in extractive metallurgy to reduce the particle sizes of rocks. Comminution processes are used to turn rocks into powder because subsequent processing generally requires finer particle sizes. A particle becomes liberated when the mineral of interest is physically free from the other minerals present (the gangue).
The machinery used for comminution can be divided into broad classes based on the size of the fragments they produce. Devices producing relatively coarse chunks are called crushers and those that produce finer particles are called grinders. See those articles for detailed descriptions of the types of crushers and grinders that are used in various circumstances.

Waste management

Comminution is mechanical shredding or pulverizing of waste; used in solid and water waste treatment. Comminution is also the reducing to a fine powder or small pieces
comminute in German: Zerkleinern
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