Segregation in granular materials and the direct measurement of surface forces using atomic force microscopy

Nhat Hang Duong, Elizabeth Shen, Troy Shinbrot, Fernando Muzzio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


It is known that one of the dominant forces controlling the macroscopic motion of particles is the cohesive force due to the presence of liquid bridges between particles. In a mixing process, this force directly impacts the degree of homogeneity achievable by the system. The work presented here provides a quantitative analysis of this relationship through concurrent direct measurements of surface forces due to moisture and blending/segregation experiments. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) was employed to measure the force required to remove the AFM's cantilever from the surface of a glass bead with varying degrees of surface moisture. Corresponding blending/segregation experiments were performed using the same materials and conditions to develop a correlation between the interparticle forces due to the liquid layer and the final state of a mixing process. The extent to which greater moisture content increased the interparticle surface forces was quantified, and it was observed that segregation decreases proportionately to increases in surface forces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-72
Number of pages4
JournalPowder Technology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 16 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)


  • AFM measurement
  • Moisture-induced cohesion
  • Segregation
  • Surface forces


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