Frictional Contacts Between Individual Woody Biomass Particles under Wet and Dry Conditions: Article No. 117719

Ehsan Fakhrabadi, Jonathan Stickel, Matthew Liberatore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus Citations


Friction between wood particles can be a critical property when designing processing equipment for creating cellulosic biofuels and similar natural products. Also, as wood processing is likely to occur year-round, understanding the friction between wet as well as dry wood particles can help design and model equipment, such as screw feeders. Here, a tribo-rheometry method was developed using a commercial rheometer that measured the torque required to rotate two contacting millimeter-scale wood chip particles. First, a range of normal forces were used to find the limits of the experimental method. Torque values were measured for seven pairs of wood chip particles at 1 N normal force under both dry and wet conditions, at both ambient conditions and in a humidity-controlled chamber. The torque required to rotate the wet particles was consistently higher than that of the dry particles, although differences were not quite statistically significant when measurements were performed at ambient conditions. Using humidity control resulted in torque values for wet particles of 1900 uNm and 900 uNm for dry particles. Finally, the friction coefficient was calculated as 0.23 for wet particles and 0.11 for dry particles when humidity was controlled. These frictions coefficients agreed with values for wood reported in the literature. Overall, controlling humidity is strongly recommended to quantify the range of friction for particles that uptake water, including granular systems from biomass to food to powders.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages6
JournalPowder Technology
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-82491


  • biomass
  • friction
  • particles
  • rheometry


Dive into the research topics of 'Frictional Contacts Between Individual Woody Biomass Particles under Wet and Dry Conditions: Article No. 117719'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this