Cohesive forces between grains can arise from a variety of sources – such as liquid bridge (capillary) forces, van der Waals forces, or electrostatic forces – and may play a significant role in the processing of fine and/or moist powders. While recent advances have been made in our understanding of liquid-induced cohesion at the macroscopic level, in general, it is still not possible to directly connect this macroscopic understanding of cohesion with a microscopic picture of the particle properties and interaction forces. In fact, conventional theories make no attempt to distinguish between these modes of cohesion, despite clear qualitative differences (lubrication forces in wet systems or electrostatic repulsion are two good examples). In this work, we discuss several discrete characterization tools for wet (cohesive) granular material with simple, physically relevant interpretations. We examine the utility of these tools, both computationally and experimentally, by exploring a range of cohesive strengths (from cohesionless to cohesive) in several prototypical applications of solid and gas-solid flows.

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