As it was noticed from the literature that the estimation of tensile strength of a cohesive solid by extrapolation of its yield locus was facing some difficulties, the characteristics of the parameter, for raw coal fines in the presence of clay and moisture, were analysed by measuring the tensile strength of the samples directly, using the Hosokawa micron cohetester. From the results it was found that the void fraction of the sample mould and its tensile strength were related by a semi-logarithmic function. These values of the parameter were compared with the extrapolated values from shear tests using a Jenike shear tester. © 1994, Society of Powder Technology Japan. All rights reserved.