Friedrich Kick was born in Vienna in 1840. After graduating from the Vienna Polytechni — kum in 1862, he became professor of mechanical technology at the Technical University in Prague, Bohemia, where he worked from 1865 to 1892, including three terms as rector. From 1892 to 1910, he was a professor at the Technical University in Vienna (serving as rector there in 1895). Kick was politically active and served in the regional parliament of lower Austria (Steiner 2002). He became well-known for his experiments on material properties and his development of test equipment to measure these properties. His publications, especially the 1885 book, Law of Proportional Resistances, added to his reputation.
Kick’s experiments that led to his hypothesis on the link between energy and size reduction started with studies of the deformation of soft bodies under load. He concluded that the amount of deformation is proportional to the energy applied and that “The pressure required for similar deformation of similar shaped bodies of similar material is proportional to the cross section area of those bodies” (Kick 1883).
This work was extended to the breakage of stone, iron and glass spheres, and cylinders, and then to rock breakage by blasting. The result of these studies was the energy — size reduction hypothesis attributed to Kick: “For any unit weight of ore particles the energy required to produce any given reduction ratio in the volumes is constant no matter what may be the original size of the particles (Richards and Locke 1940). Kick’s hypothesis is defined by the equation E = k[xa/x2] .
By 1915, a scientific culture was well established in the mineral industry, and technical publications of the day indicated that engineers had developed skills in measuring and improving the performance of grinding circuits (Del Mar 1917). The scene was set for a better understanding of the energy-size reduction relationship.