The attrition of particulate materials during their handling and processing may result in losses of material, poor product quality, poor f!owability and environmental pollution caused by the generation of dust. It is not surprising therefore that so much research has been devoted to studying the breakage mechanism of particles, in order to reduce the attrition in conveying and handling systems. In this paper, an extensive literature review on the above topics is presented. The literature review also covers the experimental systems that are commonly used to evaluate these phenomena. Moreover, some new experimental results are presented to clarify future trends, to better understand the complex mechanisms at work, to reduce the required number of 'standard indices' and to enable better engineering design.