Particle flow patterns were investigated for wet granulation and dry powder mixing in ploughshare mixers using Positron Emission Particle Tracking (PEPT). In a 4-1 mixer, calcium carbonate with mean size 45 mum was granulated using a 50 wt.% solution of glycerol and water as binding fluid, and particle movement was followed using a 600-mum calcium hydroxy-phosphate tracer particle. In a 20-1 mixer, dry powder flow was studied using a 600-mum resin bead tracer particle to simulate the bulk polypropylene powder with mean size 600 mum. Important differences were seen between particle flow patterns for wet and dry systems. Particle speed relative to blade speed was lower in the wet system than in the dry system, with the ratios of average particle speed to blade tip speed for all experiments in the range 0.01-015. In the axial plane, the same particle motion was observed around each blade; this provides a significant advance for modelling flow in ploughshare mixers. For the future, a detailed understanding of the local velocity, acceleration and density variations around a plough blade will reveal the effects of flow patterns in granulating systems on the resultant distribution of granular product attributes such as size, density and strength. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V All rights reserved.