This paper presents an overview of a Discrete Element Method approach used to study the dry friction (global scale) taking into account local discontinuity with the presence of third body at the contact interface. Three dimensional computer simulations have been carried out to show the influence of the third body properties (and more specifically its adhesion) on the resulting friction coefficient as well as the dissipated power profiles. The physics of the interface is described by a simple cohesive contact law which is set up to uncouple the key parameters governing the contact rheology. The model is validated through a global energy balance. As it is shown that dynamic friction coefficient can be explained in term of local energy dissipation, the work also emphasizes the fact that mechanism effects and third body rheology have important consequences on the energy generation and dissipation field. The friction coefficient cannot be considered the same way at the mechanism scale than at the contact one where the third body plays a non-negligible role despite the fact that it has been neglected for years in thermal approaches of the contact.

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